The co-crystal of TNT/CL-20 leads to decreased sensitivity toward thermal decomposition from first principles based reactive molecular dynamics
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To gain an atomistic-level understanding of the experimental observation that the cocrystal TNT/CL-20 leads to decreased sensitivity, we carried out reactive molecular dynamics (RMD) simulations using the ReaxFF reactive force field. We compared the thermal decomposition of the TNT/CL-20 cocrystal with that of pure crystals of TNT and CL-20 and with a simple physical mixture of TNT and CL-20. We find that cocrystal has a lower decomposition rate than CL-20 but higher than TNT, which is consistent with experimental observation. We find that the formation of carbon clusters arising from TNT, a carbon-rich molecule, plays an important role in the thermal decomposition process, explaining the decrease in sensitivity for the cocrystal. At low temperature and in the early stage of chemical reactions under high temperature, the cocrystal releases energy more slowly than the simple mixture of CL-20–TNT. These results confirm the expectation that co-crystallization is an effective way to decrease the sensitivity for energetic materials while retaining high performance.
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