Feasibility Study on the Use of Nanoscale Thermites for Lead-Free Electric Matches

Darren L. Naud,* Michael A. Hiskey, Steven F. Son, James R. Busse, and Ken Kosanke

ABSTRACT: Electric matches are used in the pyrotechnic industry to electrically initiate devices remotely and with precise timing. Unfortunately, most current commercial electric matches contain lead compounds, which when burned produce lead reaction products that may cause environmental pollution and contamination of firing areas.

These lead compounds, namely lead thiocyanate, lead nitroresorcinate and lead tetroxide, are used in electric match pyrotechnic formulations because a small diameter resistive bridgewire can reliably initiate them. A possible alternative to lead-containing compounds is nanoscale thermite materials, otherwise known as Metastable Intermolecular Composite (MIC) materials. These super-thermite materials can be formulated to be sensitive to thermal stimuli, such as resistive heating. In the effort to produce a lead-free electric match, a feasibility study was performed using nanoscale aluminum and molybdenum trioxide mixtures in electric match formulations.

Keywords: nanoscale, thermite, lead-free, electric match, metastable intermolecular composite, performance test, sensitiveness test

Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 7, (2003-2004), pp 16-26

© Journal of Pyrotechnics and CarnDu Ltd

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