Perchlorate, Lead, and Hex-Chrome Go Out with a Bang

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Through its Weapons Systems and Platform Program area, SERDP is funding a 3-year research and development project to develop sustainable pyrotechnic gasless delay formulations, free from perchlorate, lead and hexavalent chromium. 

Current pyrotechnic gasless delays are widely used in commercial and Department of Defense (DoD) devices to generate consistent time delays (i.e. flash bang). The composition of pyrotechnic delays has been recognized as unacceptable due to their potential for negative health outcomes. The by-products from combustion of these compounds are highly carcinogenic and/or toxic to humans. The Environmental Protection Agency has set low permissible limits for these compounds in soil and ground water, and these limits are expected to be set even-lower in the future.

During the first year of research ( SERDP Project WP-2519), Innovative Materials and Processes, LLC (IMP) and Principal Investigator (Dr. Zac Dorrenbos) began developing environmentally benign delay formulations for use in commercial and DoD applications. At this time, IMP’s current delay formulation is easily tunable to a wide range of inverse burn rates (2-11 seconds per inch) through reactants and functionally inert additives. Ongoing tests of the fully assembled delay bodies in sub-assembly grenade configurations is providing data for the future scale-up of the developed technology.

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