Imagine a warhead with fragments that flare and burn when the warhead detonates.
Now imagine the potential destruction of an artillery shell made almost entirely of that stuff.
Such a theoretical weapon is one of the goals behind the research being conducted by Picatinny Arsenal engineers working at the Advanced Materials Lab.
In conventional artillery shells, the explosive force generated upon detonation causes the warhead to break apart. The resulting fragments flung out in all directions are great speed explains how these weapons cause their damage.
But the potential destructive force is increased dramatically with capabilities of reactive materials that can be formed and strengthened to replace the inert materials that make up the rest of the warhead.
The reactive materials form the structure of the warhead rather than simply being loaded into the warhead.
“Structured reactive materials, or SRM, will enhance the lethality of current and future weapons while maintaining or reducing the payload,” said Paul Redner, a materials engineer with the Advanced Materials Lab.
“Unlike with more traditional (reactive materials), SRM will be a direct one-to-one replacement of inert components.”
The engineers have already made progress in the research, yet challenges remain.