Title : Continuous crystallization of energetic materials using continuous oscillatory baffled crystallizer
Energetic materials such as explosives and solid propellants are typically manufactured in batch processes. Poor heat and mass transfers in batch vessels can lead to products produced with significant batch-to-batch variations, including inconsistent purity and wide particle size distributions, limiting final product performance. Reshoring or upgrading production capability presents unique opportunities to adopt continuous flow manufacturing methods which are safer, greener, more efficient, use less energy, and have lower cost.
Crystallisation is a critical purification and isolation step in energetics manufacture as it influences solid purity, morphology, particle shape and crystal size, all of which have a direct impact on the performance and functionality of the explosive or propellant. In this presentation, we report the first successful demonstrations of continuous crystallisation of two energetic materials, ammonium perchlorate (AP) and nitrotriazolone (NTO), using NiTech’s continuous oscillatory baffled crystalliser (COBC) technology.
It has been demonstrated that AP and NTO can be continuously crystallised and product properties can be manipulated through varying processing conditions, giving consistent and tuneable particle size. High throughput has also been demonstrated with multiple kilograms of dry material produced per hour in a small footprint system.
The feasibility, capability and benefits of continuous crystallisation in energetic materials manufacturing have been demonstrated and are ready to be scaled up to production operations, as well as to incorporate continuous synthesis prior to crystallisation using one continuous system.