Fourier-like Thermal Relaxation of Nanoscale Explosive Hot Spots

MP Kroonblawd and BW Hamilton and A Strachan, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C, 125, 20570-20582 (2021).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.1c05599

Hot spots are local regions of high temperature that are widely considered to govern explosive initiation. Hot spot dynamics rests on a delicate balance between heat generation due to chemical reactions and heat loss through thermal conduction, making accurate determinations of the conductivity under extreme conditions a key component of predictive explosive models. We develop here an approach to directly determine the thermal transport properties of explosive hot spots with realistic initial structures through a combination of molecular dynamics (MD) and diffusive heat equation (HEq) modeling. Effective thermal conductivity values are determined by fitting HEq models to MD predictions of long timescale hot spot relaxation. The approach is applied to model hot spots in the molecular crystalline explosive 1,3,5-triamino-2,4,6-trinitrobenzene (TATB) for a range of shock strengths and two limiting cases for impact orientation. Isotropic and anisotropic HEq models yield similar results, despite TATB exhibiting some of the largest and most anisotropic thermal conductivity values for explosive near normal conditions. The conductivity is found to be a strong function of density, which parametrically captures dependence on temperature, pressure, and material state. The associated root-mean- square errors of the fitted HEq models are approximately 5% of MD predicted final equilibrium temperatures. The conductivity values determined here for TATB hot spots are considerably larger than those used in a prior hot spot criticality study, which may significantly impact predictions for critical hot spot sizes. The approach provides a convenient foundation for determining the effective thermal conductivity for hot spot problems in other explosives and directly yields information on reasonable approximations that might be taken in higher- level models for those materials.

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