This review discusses the recent advances in the syntheses of high explosive energetic materials. Syntheses of some relevant modern primary explosives and secondary high explosives, and the sensitivities and properties of these molecules are provided. In addition to the synthesis of such materials, processing improvement and formulating aspects using these ingredients, where applicable, are discussed in detail.
There is an ever-increasing need for the development of new energetic materials for explosive applications. This includes, but is not limited to, the area of primary explosives and secondary high explosives. Primary explosives (or “primaries” as they are colloquially called) are defined as energetic materials that possess an exceptionally high initiation sensitivity to impact, friction, electrostatic discharge, heat, and shock. Primaries are known to reach detonation very quickly after such an initiation event. The large amount of energy released upon initiation of a primary—typically in the form of heat or a shockwave—is used to initiate less sensitive energetic materials, including secondary explosives, propellants, and pyrotechnics.