Environmentally Friendly Alternative Synthesis and Process to Manufacture Cost-Effective Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane (CL-20)

Period of Performance: 05/16/2016 - 05/15/2017


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

NALAS Engineering Services Inc.
85 Westbrook Road Array
Centerbrook, CT 06409
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


The DoD requires an increase in performance and density of solid propellants for use on boost, strategic and tactical missile systems. Attaining ingredients with higher energy and density while simultaneously maintaining satisfactory physical properties is extremely challenging. Focused efforts are needed to identify, synthesize, and characterize new ingredient oxidizers that can be produced commercially at low-cost while meeting the required defined by the DoD/NASA/US Industrys Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology Program goals and beyond. Early Phase I efforts focused on CL-20, the most powerful conventional explosive known to date and a close analog of Aurora, a material described in the Russian literature to possess very promising properties. CHEETAH calculations show that Aurora could offer a good specific impulse for propellant applications, thus making its production desirable in order to evaluate its performance in various formulations. Recent studies towards this material were conducted as part of a separate Phase II program. Our strategy towards Aurora has evolved and now covers various synthetic routes that could allow us to produce this desired material in multi-gram scale upon validation and optimization. Our team proposes to tackle this challenge using a renewed 3-fold complementary approach described in this proposal.