American Chemical Society
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Ultrafast Chemical Reactions in Shocked Nitromethane Probed with Dynamic Ellipsometry and Transient Absorption Spectroscopy

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journal contribution
posted on 2014-04-10, 00:00 authored by Kathryn E. Brown, Shawn D. McGrane, Cynthia A. Bolme, David S. Moore
Initiation of the shock driven chemical reactions and detonation of nitromethane (NM) can be sensitized by the addition of a weak base; however, the chemical mechanism by which sensitization occurs remains unclear. We investigated the shock driven chemical reaction in NM and in NM sensitized with diethylenetriamine (DETA), using a sustained 300 ps shock driven by a chirped Ti:sapphire laser. We measured the solutions’ visible transient absorption spectra and measured interface particle and shock velocities of the nitromethane solutions using ultrafast dynamic ellipsometry. We found there to be a volume-increasing reaction that takes place around interface particle velocity up = 2.4 km/s and up = 2.2 km/s for neat NM and NM with 5% DETA, respectively. The rate at which transient absorption increases is similar in all mixtures, but with decreasing induction times for solutions with increasing DETA concentrations. This result supports the hypothesis that the chemical reaction mechanisms for shocked NM and NM with DETA are the same. Data from shocked NM are compared to literature experimental and theoretical data.