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Effects of Defects on Thermal Decomposition of HMX via ReaxFF Molecular Dynamics Simulations

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posted on 20.01.2011, 00:00 by Ting-Ting Zhou, Feng-Lei Huang
Effects of molecular vacancies on the decomposition mechanisms and reaction dynamics of condensed-phase β-HMX at various temperatures were studied using ReaxFF molecular dynamics simulations. Results show that three primary initial decomposition mechanisms, namely, N−NO2 bond dissociation, HONO elimination, and concerted ring fission, exist at both high and lower temperatures. The contribution of the three mechanisms to the initial decomposition of HMX is influenced by molecular vacancies, and the effects vary with temperature. At high temperature (2500 K), molecular vacancies remarkably promote N−N bond cleavage and concerted ring breaking but hinder HONO formation. N−N bond dissociation and HONO elimination are two primary competing reaction mechanisms, and the former is dominant in the initial decomposition. Concerted ring breaking of condensed-phase HMX is not favored at high temperature. At lower temperature (1500 K), the most preferential initial decomposition pathway is N−N bond dissociation followed by the formation of NO3 (O migration), although all three mechanisms are promoted by molecular vacancies. The promotion effect on concerted ring breaking is considerable at lower temperature. Products resulting from concerted ring breaking appear in the defective system but not in the perfect crystal. The mechanism of HONO elimination is less important at lower temperature. We also estimated the reaction rate constant and activation barriers of initial decomposition with different vacancy concentrations. Molecular vacancies accelerate the decomposition of condensed-phase HMX by increasing the reaction rate constant and reducing activation barriers.