In-Process Simulation Testing

The DOT, BATF, and DoD classification systems, when used in combination with other recognized tests, may be used to produce a systematic approach to classifying in-process explosive materials. In-process classifications are useful since an explosive will typically provide the same or greater level of hazard in a manufacturing operation than in a shipping or storage configuration, where the classification is known. Therefore, the manufacturer or processor of explosive materials may be under assessing the hazard of the explosives in their processes by solely using the transportation and storage classifications as a guide. Alternatively, an explosives manufacturer may assume that in-process operations always represent a high explosive hazard. This approach may lead to unwarranted restrictions or expense for some operations. Understanding the characteristics of the in-process material ensures that proper safety requirements are addressed early in the designing and planning stages of a production line.

This protocol is not intended to replace or modify BATF, DoD or DOT classification systems for storage or transportation, but to assist the manufacturer of explosives with proper facility design and siting of modified or new facilities.

In an explosives-manufacturing operation, the reactivity or sensitivity of the material may vary within the process. The in-process material characterization and classification requirements may therefore be different for various stages of a process. Therefore, the classification methodology developed should be applied to all stages and/ or configurations of the explosive. It is also important that a worst-case configuration, instead of a normal process upset or minimal-case configuration, be used when classifying in-process materials or articles. Generally, an over-test is performed rather than a minimum worst-case test, so that not every change in manufacturing procedures requires a re-test of the explosive substances or articles involved.

In-process classifications are determined by using a combination of the tests shown below. The Test Series 1-4 are for in-process classification of substances while Test Series 5 and 6 are for articles. See Terms and Definitions section below for an explanation of “substances” and “articles.” For further in-depth information, please see our writeup on “In-Process Classification”.

For testing consideration, SMS must be provided with information needed to understand your material and the objective of the testing, as specified in “Standard Required Information for Testing.”

Tests Simulating Process Conditions

In-process Test Series 1

  • Impact Sensitivity Test
  • Friction Sensitivity Test
  • ESD Sensitivity Test

In-process Test Series 2

  • Zero Gap Test
  • Internal Ignition

In-process Test Series 3

  • Thermal Stability Test
  • Small-Scale Burning Test
  • #8 Cap Test
  • NOL Card Gap Test

In-process Test Series 4

  • Thermal Stability Test
  • Small-Scale Burning Test
  • #8 Cap Test
  • NOL Card Gap Test

In-process Test Series 5

  • Thermal Stability Test
  • Drop Test

In-process Test Series 6

  • Worst-Case Propagation Tests
  • External Fire Test

Protective-Enclosure Testing

Each test is described in more detail on our In-Process Tests page.

Definitions and Terms

In-process, refers to stages of manufacture of an original product or an application of that product into another product. The material is considered in-process, if it is in an operation, process, or manufacturing stage where it is being used, changed, transported, mixed or otherwise modified or incorporated into the process or product.

Two main divisions exist when discussing explosives: substance and articles. Substances refer to the actual explosive (powders, grains, pellets, etc.). Articles refer to items, which contain explosive substances (detonators, igniters, inflators, etc.). Both substances and articles can mass react depending on the explosive materials they contain and the design configuration used. Different tests are needed to evaluate the propagation potential of substances and articles.

For classification purposes, one looks at both the sensitivity and reactivity of the substance or article. Sensitivity refers to how easily a material or article is initiated due to various stimuli. Reactivity refers to what type or size of event is produced once initiation occurs. When the sensitivity and reactivity of a substance or article is properly characterized, the data can also be used to improve the safety and application of the material in addition to in-process classifications as presented here.