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The REACH impact on gun propellant formulations

: Böhnlein-Mauß, Jutta; Kröber, Hartmut


Propellants, explosives, pyrotechnics 42 (2017), Nr.1, S.54-61
ISSN: 0340-7462
ISSN: 0721-3115
ISSN: 1521-4087
Fraunhofer ICT ()

REACH is the abbreviation for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals. It is a regulation of the European Union, adopted to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals, while enhancing the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry. Current gun propellant formulations employ environmentally unfriendly materials, like dibutyl-phthalate (DBP). In this contribution a study was conducted, which aims to evaluate the environmental friendliness of common gun propellant ingredients and to propose environmentally acceptable substitutes for harmful substances. In the first step a simplified assessment matrix based on the REACH relevant properties of chemicals was developed. The matrix consists of the main criteria of the new European regulation, their legal limit values, and their evaluation by REACH. For a selected number of ingredients of commonly used gun propellants the toxicological and eco-toxicological data were collected in order to carry out an initial assessment under the REACH regulation. In this context some substances show remarkable and critical properties and it was started to find suitable substitutes, which were first assessed with regard to the REACH regulation. As an example potential substitutes for nitroglycerine were experimentally introduced in gun propellant formulations and their main properties were determined and compared with the standard formulation.