In November of 2014, SERDP issued a statement of need on environmentally sustainable manufacturing for energetic formulations. Load Assemble Pack processes for energetic formulations tend to be solvent, energy, and labor intensive, produce copious quantities of hazardous waste, and impose significant risk to the health and safety of operators. Resonant acoustic mixing (RAM) technology has been applied to several industrial processes and is gaining significant interest for energetic materials formulation and processing.

Several SERDP projects were selected to explore resonant acoustic technologies as applied to mixing propellants (WP-2632), explosives (WP-2604) or pyrotechnic materials (WP-2631). In addition, one project will explore a continuous process (WP-2605) for mixing energetic formulations. These four SERDP projects, along with one ESTCP project (WP-201507) demonstrating direct loading of energetic ordnance items, have a common theme of using RAM to reduce solvent, improve safety, and maintain or improve performance.

A user’s group meeting for RAM applications related to energetic materials will be held at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake on March 1-2, 2016. Presentations from Army, Navy, and Air Force scientists and engineers as well as several Department of Energy and industry presentations will be featured. This is an exciting technology area that can help DoD reduce hazardous waste and improve worker safety, while continuing to meet mission performance requirements.