Dissolution of NTO, DNAN and Insensitive Munitions Formulations and their Fates in Soils
New explosive compounds that are less sensitive to shock and high tem-peratures are being tested as replacements for TNT and RDX. Two of these explosives, DNAN (2,4-dinitroanisole) and NTO (3-nitro-1,2,4-triazol-5-one), have good detonation characteristics and are the main ingredients in a suite of insensitive munitions (IM) explosives that are being, or soon will be, fielded. Both compounds, however, are more soluble than either TNT or RDX; and research has shown that both have some human and envi-ronmental toxicity. Data on their fate is needed to determine if DNAN and NTO have the potential to reach groundwater and be transported off base, an outcome that could create future contamination problems on military training ranges and trigger regulatory action. In this study, we measured how quickly DNAN and NTO dissolve in IM formulations and how solu-tions of these IM explosives interact with different types of soils. Because both dissolution and solution–soil interactions are determined by a suite of parameters, we are using a multifaceted approach to studying these processes. Given a mass of IM compounds scattered on the range, our work will help determine the dissolved IM masses, their subsequent transport and fate, and their likelihood of reaching groundwater.