Replacement of Red Phosphorus in Smoke Producing Munitions

Period of Performance: 07/20/2009 - 07/20/2011


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Powdermet, Inc.
24112 Rockwell Dr Suite A
Euclid, OH 44117
Principal Investigator


The standard Red phosphorus smoke munitions have excellent obscurance features, and have a much lower adverse health impact when used in training and field maneuvers. However there are some significant maintenance costs and health and safety concerns which have arisen during long term storage of Red Phosphorus obscurant munitions. During long term storage, especially when exposed to atmospheric moisture, RP munitions slowly convert to phosgene and phosphoric oxyacids. These types of chemicals are a severe danger to the personnel that have to monitor transport and maintain these munitions. These chemicals are also corrosive and can impact the security and performance of the munitions canister by corrosion. To resolve these adverse costs and environmental health and safety impacts, Powdermet demonstrated the feasibility of a safer replacement obscurant based on the use of pigment-coated sugar-oxidizer mixtures to replace RP and HC formulations. These sugar-oxidizer mixtures generate smoke without the hazardous byproducts and EHS concerns of currently used HC and RP smoke alternatives. The primary goal of SBIR Program is to successfully address the storage concerns that red phosphorus munitions have, by demonstrating (phase I), and then developing and qualifying (phase II) a sugar-oxidizer (SO) smoke formulation.