Focus Article - Evaluating the Properties of Energetic Materials

Energetic materials are chemical compounds such as explosives, propellants, pyrotechnics that have exothermic heats of decomposition (positive heats of formation). Energetic materials also include mixtures of materials that can react to produce high-energy releases. Explosive or high-energy releases typically are initiated by detonative or mechanical impact, friction, or runaway reaction that causes high temperature. The consequences of high-energy release can be explosive generation of gases, high pressure resulting from rapid heating of decomposition or reaction gases, growth to detonation due to high pressure growth, or equipment rupture from high pressure and/or high temperature.