Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Energetic Cocrystal of TNT and CL20

Technology #4882

UM File # 4882

Explosive technology must balance many factors to ensure successful implementation. Stability, ignition sensitivity, power, and brisance are just a few properties that must be combined and prioritized depending on the explosive end point. For example, CL-20 is a high explosive compound with a high detonation velocity and low signal, but has relatively poor impact shock sensitivity. In contrast, TNT has good shock insensitivity yet poor detonation velocity. TNT finds far wider use in formulations and the structure of combined energetic materials also affects performance and stability.
Technology Description
Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a 1:1 cocrystal of CL-20 (2,4,6,8,10,12-hexanitro-2,4,6,8,10,12-hexaazaisowurtzitane) and TNT (2,4,6-trinitrotoluene). This stands as a promising novel energetic material that combines the performance of CL-20 with the stability of TNT into an explosive that is powerful, safe, and economical. With a density of 1.91 g/cm3 and an oxygen balance of -32.5%, this cocrystal greatly improves measureables relative to pure TNT with a disproportionately small detriment relative to pure CL-20. Synergies in this material mainly arise from making CL-20 more stable and cost effective while the inclusion of TNT, the most established and detectable energetic in the world, also makes this new material more easily monitored and controlled. Stable in ambient conditions and readily produced on scale, this novel energetic is also quite robust. A melting point of 135 °C characterizes this promising new material which is poised for further development in the hands of a capable explosives manufacturer.
Applications • Explosives
Advantages • Powerful explosive with high detonation velocity • Impact and thermally stable • Economical • Simple and scalable synthesis