PhD thesis: Shock sensitivity reduction of explosive formulations by interface tuning


Research Field

Interface science, surface characterization, nanomaterials, shock physics, detonics


The sensitivity of energetic materials is a crucial parameter in terms of safety. The ISL VI-RDX particle grade has demonstrated that the shock sensitivity of RDX (cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine) samples embedded in a wax matrix can be reduced by minimizing internal particle defects. A promising next step is therefore to mitigate the sensitizing impact of defects located at the surface of the crystals and at the interface to the wax binder.


The combined development of a material and a method that are suitable to modify the interface of energetic material particles and the wax is the major objective of this PhD project. The main techniques are:
• synthesis of inorganic nanomaterials for coating of RDX crystals and their optimization
• development and optimization of the RDX surface coating process
• shock sensitivity analysis of coated RDX particles: pristine and in formulations
• surface characterization and quantification of defects


This PhD project is envisaged as a collaborated work between the Mulhouse Materials Science Institute (IS2M) at the University of Haute-Alsace and the “Shock Physics and Detonics” group (PCD) at the French-German research Institute of Saint-Louis (ISL). While the IS2M group has an important expertise in the fields of nanomaterials synthesis, surfaces and interfaces, the PCD group has a strong background in energetic materials, shock physics and detonics.

The candidate requires a Master degree or equivalent in Physics, Physical Chemistry or Materials Science. Prior experience in any of the mentioned fields and techniques are a plus. The main working language is English, French and German language skills are nice-to-have. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply for this position enclosing a detailed CV and a motivation letter.

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