The objective of this project is to develop methods by which Holston ammonium nitrate solution (ANSOL) can be processed and reused at the Holston Army Ammunition Plant. This will be achieved through purification of the ANSOL product and subsequent isolation of ammonium nitrate. Purification of the ANSOL product will be achieved through a combination of adsorbent resin treatment and crystallization of ammonium nitrate. The isolated solid ammonium nitrate will then be evaluated for use in synthesis reactions to produce 1,3,5-Trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) and 1,3,5 ,7-Tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocane (HMX).

Technical Approach

This project will consist of two tasks. The first task will be to identify an efficient and robust process for isolating reasonably pure solid ammonium nitrate from Holston ANSOL. Since the ammonium nitrate will be used in the same system from whence it came, it is possible that some small level of impurity may be accepted. The purification of the ammonium nitrate from ANSOL will build upon previously conducted research activities that have identified viable purification options. However, the development of additional purification methods will be required in order to yield the pure, solid ammonium nitrate for reuse.

The second objective will be to evaluate the utility of this ammonium nitrate in the RDX and HMX synthesis processes that are currently used in production at the Holston Army Ammunition Plant. To complete this task, the ammonium nitrate will be used directly in laboratory scale syntheses that are designed to mimic the production manufacture of these materials. Additionally, if this process is deemed viable, some initial evaluation of the requirements of the ammonium nitrate will be completed. The material requirements will not only drive the overall cost of reuse but will also indicate any processing changes that would be required to accommodate the use of the recovered ANSOL in the process.


If the reuse of ammonium nitrate in RDX and HMX synthesis processes is viable, program managers, installations and warfighters across all services would benefit. Not only financial benefits could be achieved but also the overall environmental impact of these two widely used energetic ingredients.