Propellants Explosives Pyrotechnics, Vol.31, No.3, 169-181, 2006
Optical pyrometry of fireballs of metalized explosives
tFast-response optical diagnostics (a time-integrated spectrometer and two separate fast-response three-color pyrometers) are used to record the transient visible radiation emitted by a fireball produced when a condensed explosive is detonated. Measurement of the radiant intensity, in several narrow wavelength bands, is used to estimate the temperature of the condensed products within the fireball. For kg-scale conventional oxygen-deficient homogeneous TNT and nitromethane explosive charges, the radiant intensity reaches a maximum typically after tens of milliseconds, but the measured fireball temperature remains largely constant for more than 100 ms, at a value of about 2,000 K, consistent with predictions using equilibrium thermodynamics codes. When combustible metal particles (aluminum, magnesium or zirconium) are added to the explosive, reaction of the particles enhances the radiant energy and the fireball temperature is increased. In this case the fireball temperatures are lower than equilibrium predictions, but are consistent with measurements of particle temperature in single particle ignition experiments.