DOI: 10.1002/prep.202300176 ISSN: 0721-3115

Analysis of degradation products in thermally treated TATB

Keith R. Coffee, Adele F. Panasci‐Nott, Jason A. Olivas, John Selinsky, Keith D. Morrison, Alan K. Burnham, Gregory L. Klunder, John G. Reynolds
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Chemistry


Delineating the chemical composition of TATB (1,3,5‐triamino‐2,4,6‐trinitrobenzene) residues produced from the exposure to abnormal thermal environments should lead to a better understanding of the decomposition paths. Identifying and quantifying each compound in thermally produced residues, monitors which compounds are degrading or forming along the decomposition route, as well as providing input for the kinetic models of those pathways.

Here we report the methodology of isolating, identifying, and where possible, quantifying soluble compounds present in solid residues of thermally treated TATB (330 °C for tens of minutes). Samples were extracted with DMSO, separated using chromatography, and quantified using their absorption at 354 nm. Identification of unknown compounds was accomplished using high resolution mass spectrometry. TATB, F1 (diamino‐dinitro‐benzofurazan), HO‐TATB (2,4,6‐triamino‐1‐hydroxyl‐3,5‐dinitrobenzene), and T4A (1‐chloro‐3,5‐dinitro‐2,4,6‐triaminobenzene) were trace compounds detected in the unreacted TATB. Ten more compounds that formed in the residues were structurally identified including F2 (amino‐nitro‐difurazan). Several more compounds were observed but not completely identified. We propose possible structures for the unknowns. Of the compounds formed, F1 was the most abundant compound reaching 4.5 % by weight of the degraded solid sample. Other degradation compounds were estimated to sum to trace levels, well below 1 %. Most compounds were new, having not been detected and identified in previous studies of production grade and thermally aged TATB. Many compounds only reached detectable concentrations after several min of thermal exposure.

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