, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 238-242
Date: 02 Apr 2010

Micro structural investigations on TNT and PETN incorporated silica xerogels

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Silica xerogels incorporated with trinitrotoluene (TNT) and pentaerythritoltetranitrate (PETN) were synthesized using sol–gel method. Tetramethoxysilane was used as precursor for silica. TNT and PETN content in the resulted explosive/silica xerogel was varied ranging from 50 to 90%. Infra red spectra showed that explosives were retained in the silica xerogel matrix. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) reveal that explosives particles were uniformly distributed in xerogel matrix and the size of the PETN and TNT particles are in the range 15–18 nm. Small angle x-ray scattering showed that the sizes of the pores in the silica matrix are in the range 25–13 nm. The particles of TNT and PETN occupy the pores in the matrix resulting in gradual reduction of pore-size affecting the surface characteristics of the pore-matrix interface. Understanding of the structure of aggregates of small particles thus produced could be useful to explain the properties shown by the fine explosives. Our study suggests that particle size of explosives in the nanometer range can be achieved using the sol–gel method.