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Versatile Boron Carbide-Based Visual Obscurant Compositions for Smoke Munitions

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journal contribution
posted on 01.06.2015, 00:00 authored by Anthony P. Shaw, Giancarlo Diviacchi, Ernest L. Black, Jared D. Moretti, Rajendra K. Sadangi, Henry A. Grau, Robert A. Gilbert
New pyrotechnic smoke compositions, containing only environmentally benign materials, have been demonstrated to produce thick white smoke clouds upon combustion. These compositions use powdered boron carbide (B4C) as a pyrotechnic fuel, KNO3 as a pyrotechnic oxidizer, and KCl as a combustion temperature moderator. Small amounts of calcium stearate and polymeric binders may be added to moderate burning rate and for composition granulation. Prototype tests involving three preferred compositions were conducted in end- and core-burning grenade and canister configurations. Smoke release times ranged from 3.5 to 70 s for the grenades and from 8 to 100 s for the canisters. Notably, any desired smoke release time within these ranges may be obtained by fine adjustment to the calcium stearate content of the compositions and/or small changes to the device containers. Aerosolization efficiency and quantitative performance, as determined by smoke chamber measurements, remain consistent regardless of smoke release time. Impact, friction, and electrostatic discharge tests show that the compositions are insensitive to accidental ignition and are safe to handle.