Improving post-detonation energetics residues estimations for the Life Cycle Environmental Assessment process for munitions.

The Life Cycle Environmental Assessment (LCEA) process for military munitions tracks possible environmental impacts incurred during all phases of the life of a munition. The greatest energetics-based emphasis in the current LCEA process is on manufacturing. A review of recent LCEAs indicates that energetics deposition on ranges during training is only peripherally examined through assessment of combustion products derived from closed-chamber testing or combustion product models. These assessments rarely detect any measurable energetic residues. Field-testing of munitions for energetics residues deposition has demonstrated that over 30% of some energetic compounds remain after detonation, which conflicts with the LCEA findings. A study was conducted in the open environment to determine levels of energetics residue deposition and if combustion product results can be correlated with empirical deposition results. Energetics residues deposition, post-detonation combustion products, and fine aerosolized energetics particles following open-air detonation of blocks of Composition C4 were quantified. The deposited residues amounted to 3.6 mg of energetic per block of C4, or less than 0.001% of the original energetics. Aerial emissions of energetics were about 7% of the amount of deposited energetics. This research indicates that aerial combustion products analysis can provide a valuable supplement to energetics deposition data in the LCEA process but is insufficient alone to account for total residual energetics. This study demonstrates a need for the environmental testing of munitions to quantify energetics residues from live-fire training.