Disposal of energetic materials by alkaline pressure hydrolysis and combined techniques conversion concepts for commercial applications and disposal technologies of energetic systems
Due to the redn. of armament and esp. due to the German reunification we are met by the objective of the disposal of energetic materials. In the next few years there will be approx. 40,000 t of energetic materials to dispose off. Environmentally friendly disposal methods available for the different propellants, explosives and pyrotechnics are urgently needed. The main component of gun and rocket propellants is the energetic polymer nitrocellulose. One method to dispose off nitrocellulose contg. propellants is the combination of rapid chem. destruction by pressure hydrolysis and the biol. degrdn. of the reaction mixt. The study describes the results of pressure hydrolysis of different gun and rocket propellants. Under alk. conditions (propellant to NaOH ratio 2.3:1; reaction temp. 150.degree.; pressure below 30 bar) biol. degradable reaction products were formed. The main products in the liq. phase were mono and dicarboxylic acids. Dependent on the reaction conditions, 30-50% of the nit rogen content of the propellants was transformed to nitrite and nitrate. The gaseous nitrogen contg. products were N2 (16-46%), N2O (2-23%), NOx (0-5%). Overall 40-60% of the propellant nitrogen was transformed to gaseous products. In the solid residues a nitrogen content between 2 and 9% was found. The residues were mostly due to additives used in propellant manufg. In the case of nitrocellulose pressure hydrolysis below 30 bar and reaction temp. about 150.degree. is sufficient.