The cast/cure approach to pyrotechnics processing and manufacturing offers the potential to virtually eliminate the use of volatile organic compounds (VOC), while still producing material in a manner that mitigates hazard (ignition) sensitivity.

The objective of the project is to demonstrate the application of cast/cure methodology to eliminate hazardous waste and associated VOC emissions from some important areas of military pyrotechnics manufacture.

Technical Approach

The project utilized modern liquid/curable polymeric binder materials to formulate pyrotechnic compositions. The cast/cure methodology was a mature technology since it had been used for some time to process solid rocket motor propellant materials. Therefore, the main risk involved in this effort was not whether cast/cure processing was a viable technology, but whether products formulated for this type of processing, and so produced, would meet established and developing requirements for in-service pyrotechnic products.


Small-scale testing was completed for replacing Magnesium/Teflon/Viton in aircraft decoy applications. A number of experimental (candidate) composition systems were submitted for testing. Tests measured infrared emissions under static wind conditions. Measurements were made on reduced-size pyrotechnic pellets. A promising composition system was identified from the results of the infrared emission measurements. Details of the testing were made available to the potential transition sponsors, Naval Air Systems Command PMA-272, the Navy Electronic Warfare Advanced Technology Program, and the Navy’s Advanced Tactical Expendables Task. The project was completed in FY 1998.


Because of the elimination of hazardous solvent waste as well as the potential elimination of VOC emissions, expensive solvent recovery and recycling systems for pyrotechnics processing would not be needed, and the costs of waste stream treatment would be eliminated. The potential payoff is exemplified by procurement figures for FY 1995. The Department of Defense planned to procure quantities of decoy flares corresponding to a total of about 650,000 pounds of pyrotechnic material, generating from 195,000 to 975,000 gallons of hazardous waste solvent. Based on representative costs for disposing of waste solvent, the annual cost savings from solvent waste elimination alone would be from $2.1M to $10.6M.