Explosive Materials Analysis Laboratory

Spectra operates a well-equipped analytical laboratory staffed by quality assurance and energetic materials and chemistry professionals supporting all of our research, development and manufacturing operations. These dedicated staff use the resources available in our laboratory to develop and validate all of Spectra’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) prior to the start of full-scale production operations. A wide range of quality assurance compliance analysis is conducted in the laboratory to insure our explosive materials, formulations, and processing are conducted in full compliance to all applicable industrial standards and military specifications. Our analytical laboratory staff routinely characterize the as-received condition of our explosive ingredients by lot number before it is released for production use. Prior to the full-scale loading of explosive using any of our large scale production mixers Spectra prepares laboratory size batches in order to prove out the explosive ingredient blending, order of addition for ingredients, pot life and end of mix viscosity. A sub-scale laboratory batch is prepared in advance to prove out all lot chemistry for proper polymerization and cross-linking of the binder system and to ensure no improper interactions between the binder system curative, catalysts and explosive ingredients affecting pot life and end of mix viscosity. These operations feed the development of our SOPs. All formulations and mixing steps including order of addition, vacuum levels and run-times are maintained by the Quality laboratory. This formulation and mixing information is conveyed to the Production mix operators via a Batch Formulation Sheet issued for each mix. Most of the modern test equipment operating in the laboratory includes digital data capture for statistical process control applications, post-processing analysis, and quality assurance records retention. All of our activities in this laboratory are conducted in accordance with careful safety policies and procedures. The capabilities of our laboratory reach beyond those needed to provide quality assurance overwatch for our production operations and includes specialized facilities and equipment of value during customer-sponsored explosive materials, formulation and processing research and development.


Procedure or Application Equipment or Other Resource
Pilot scale laboratory mixing and casting. 5-gallon planetary mixer, curing oven
End of mix viscosity, used to evaluate pot life Brookfield Viscometer
Material strength and elasticity in tension, compression, flexure, shear, and peel “Dog-bone” guillotine cutter, Tinius Olsen Pull Tester
Explosive compatibility testing and out-gassing Vacuum Thermal Stability Test Apparatus (VTS)
Weights and density Precision (micro-gram accuracy) scales and buoyancy scales
Material hardness Shore “A” Durometer
Serial dilution gravimetric analysis Buchner funnels and other chemistry laboratory equipment.
Raw material particle size analysis and distribution MicroTrac Particle-Size Analyzer
Fourier transform infra-red (FTIR) spectroscopy for chemical analysis Bruker Tensor 27, with ATR attachement
Moisture content analysis Karl Fischer Coulometric Moisture Analyzer
Microscopic inspection and analysis Optical microscope up to 100X magnification with digital camera attachment.
Melting point, purity analysis MEL-TEMP melting point apparatus
Solid (powder) material volume and density HumiPyc Gas Pycnometer
pH measurement Thermo Scientific Orion 3 Start pH meter
Explosive detonation testing Enclosed facility for dent testing and other small scale explosive test procedures.

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