IMX-101 is a high-performance insensitive high explosive composite mixture developed by BAE Systems and the United States Army to replace TNT in artillery shells.
IMX stands for “Insensitive Munitions eXplosives”, which refers to the purpose of IMX-101: to provide explosive force equivalent to TNT without its sensitivity to shocks such as gunfire, explosions from improvised explosive devices, fire, and shrapnel. For example, it is believed that a training incident in Nevada which killed seven Marines would not have occurred with the new explosive. On 23 March 2013, the United States Army ordered $780 million worth of the explosive, with a production of millions of pounds annually, to be produced by BAE at Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Tennessee. The new explosive will cost $8 per pound, compared to $6 per pound for TNT. As of 2023, IMX-101 filled shells are being used in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Time Magazine called IMX-101 one of the “50 best inventions of 2010” (archived page).
IMX-101 is composed of 2,4-dinitroanisole (DNAN), nitrotriazolone (NTO), and nitroguanidine (NQ). The nominal composition is 43.5 wt% DNAN, 36.8 wt% NQ, and 19.7 wt% NTO. Trace amounts of N-methyl-p-nitroaniline (MNA) are included in some formulations to aid in processing. A formulation containing about 24 wt% aluminium and 76 wt% IMX-101 is called ALIMX-101 and is currently investigated as an insensitive replacement for H6 and PBXN-109 in Mk82 style bombs.
Like Composition B, IMX formulations are melt-castable without thermal degradation, and are thus processed into munitions by a melt pour process starting with a batch melt kettle heated by a steam heat exchanger.
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