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POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF NANOENERGETICS

POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF NANOENERGETICS

Author: Nancy N. Perreault
Abstract

Nanoenergetics has the potential to become the next generation of explosives and propellants. Nano-explosives often show better
performances in terms of energy release, ignition and mechanical properties compared to their bulk counterparts. In addition to
monomolecular explosives such as nano-TNT and nano-RDX, diverse energetic nanocomposites have been developed, including the
nanometer-sized versions of conventional thermites (nanothermites) and those using carbon-based nanomaterials (e.g., fullerenes and carbon nanotubes). While the unique characteristics of nanomaterials allow groundbreaking applications, they also result in distinct environmental fate, transport and toxicity. The high surface to volume ratio and reactivity of nanomaterials make them highly dynamic in environmental systems. Once released in the environment, nanoenergetic chemicals will undergo transportation and transformation processes including dissolution, aggregation, adsorption, photolysis and biotransformation, which will also affect their persistence and bioavailability. This review was conducted to better understand the potential environmental fate and ecological impact of the use of nanoenergetics.

Keywords: Nanomaterial, nanothermite, environmental fate, nanotoxicity

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