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What Is a Shock Wave to an Explosive Molecule?

  • Craig M. Tarver
Part of the Shock Wave and High Pressure Phenomena book series (SHOCKWAVE)

Abstract

An explosive molecule is a metastable chemical species that reacts exothermically given the correct stimulus. Impacting an explosive with a shock wave is a “wake-up call” or “trigger” that compresses and heats the molecule. The energy deposited by the shock wave must be distributed to the vibrational modes of the explosive molecule before chemical reaction can occur. If the shock pressure and temperature are high enough and last long enough, exothermic chemical decomposition can lead to the formation of a detonation wave. For gaseous, liquid, and perfect single-crystal solid explosives, after an induction time, chemical reaction begins at or near the rear boundary of the charge. This induction time can be calculated by high-pressure, high-temperature transition state theory. A “superdetonation” wave travels through the preshocked explosive until it overtakes the initial shock wave and then slows to the steady state Chapman-Jouguet (C-J) velocity. In heterogeneous solid explosives, initiation of reaction occurs at “hot spots” created by shock compression. If there is a sufficient number of large and energetic enough “hot spots,” these ignition sites grow creating a pressure pulse that overtakes the leading shock front causing detonation. Because the chemical energy is released well behind the leading shock front of a detonation wave, a mechanism is required for this energy to reinforce the leading shock front and maintain its overall constant velocity. This mechanism is the amplification of pressure wavelets in the reaction zone by the process of de-excitation of the initially highly vibrationally excited reaction product molecules. This process leads to the development of the three-dimensional structure of detonation waves observed for all explosives. In a detonation wave, the leading shock wave front becomes a “burden” for the explosive molecule to sustain by its chemical energy release.

Keywords

Shock Wave Detonation Wave Shock Compression Solid Explosive Shock Initiation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

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  • Craig M. Tarver

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