Case Studies

Neutralization of Picric Acid-Based Bulk Explosives

Wet picric acid in explosive D projectiles
exp D
Wet picric acid recovered from explosive D projectiles

Engagement details

Client: Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Site:     ATF Approved Facility, Minnesota
Task:   Neutralization of Reclaimed and Stockpiled Explosive D (picric acid-based explosives) by MuniRem®
Date:   November 2009


The munitions item assigned to MuniRem Environmental for neutralization was a U.S. Navy projectile containing Explosive D (ammonium picrate). Explosive D is a stable, yellow-crystalline explosive once used as the standard main charge for armor-piercing bombs and projectiles. MuniRem Environmental pilot-tested the use of MuniRem® for instant neutralization of wetted picric acid reclaimed from demilitarized munitions.


MuniRem Environmental designed an explosive and chemical neutralization (ECAN) reactor with a throughput of 10 pounds per hour. An optimum dose of MuniRem® was prepared and used to neutralize multiple 10-pound batches of explosives in the reactor. The resulting solution was polished in a reactive column prior to disposal.


The explosives were degraded to formate and nitrogen gas in less than one hour. The highest throughput for neutralization of bulk high explosives was achieved in a 100-gallon reactor. Using the optimum MuniRem® dosage, the Composition D was destroyed to 2 mg/L in the ECAN reactor under an hour.

MuniRem® achieved non-detectable levels (US DoD 5X) for explosives initially present on the contaminated metal casings. A protocol was developed for neutralization of bulk explosives and decontamination of metal casings with MuniRem® solution.

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