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Journal of Physics: Conference Series
Related content
PAPER ? OPEN ACCESS
The determination of the energy values and the
composition analysis of M-16 rifle black powders
To cite this article: R Satee et al 2017 J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 901 012126
View the article online for updates and enhancements.
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This content was downloaded from IP address 80.82.77.83 on 28/10/2017 at 14:56
Siam Physics Congress 2017 (SPC2017)
IOP Conf. Series: Journal of Physics: Conf. Series 1234567890
901 (2017) 012126
IOP Publishing
doi:10.1088/1742-6596/901/1/012126
The determination of the energy values and the composition
analysis of M-16 rifle black powders
R Satee1, P Dararutana2, and W Phutdhawong1*
1
Forensic Science program, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Science,
Kasetsart University, Kampeang Sean Campus, Nakhon Pathom 73140, Thailand
2
Royal Thai Army Chemical Department, Senanikom, Phaholyothin Road, Chatuchak,
Bangkok 10900, Thailand
*E-mail: faaswcp@ku.ac.th
Abstract. The determination of the energy values, specifically the heat of combustion
of various M-16 black powders was the important part of the bullet efficiency
investigations. The calorimetric bomb is commonly used for these determinations.
Four M-16 black powders from the different sources were used as samples for this
research. It was found that, after using calorimetric bomb technique, the gross heating
value in Joules/g of sample S1-S4 were 10,647, 10,416, 5,281 and 3,878 respectively.
The chemical compositionsof carbon (C), hydrogen (H), nitrogen (N) and sulfer (S)
have also been determined. The results indicated that carbon and nitrogen
compositions of sample S1 shown the highest values and provided little differences
with sample S2 while sample S3 and S4 shown the lowest carbon and nitrogen
percentage composition. The hydrogen composition of all samples was equally valued,
however, only sample 3 and 4 displayed sulfur values while no sulfur values were
detected from sample 1 and 2. From these results, the heat values and chemical
composition of M-16 black powders were characterized their sources and the energy
values might be estimated from the amount of carbon and nitrogen in the black
powders. Thus, it would be possible to use this determination analysis in the forensic
investigation.
1. Introduction
The M16 rifle is a United States military adaptation of the AR-15 rifle [1-4]. It is an officially
designated rifle that contained 5.56�mm rifle with a 20-round magazine. The M16 rifle has been
entered into U.S. military since 1964 and become the U.S. military standard rifle. It has also been
widely adopted by other militaries around the world which total worldwide production of M16s has
been approximately 8 million. The M16 bullet is 5.56�mm size, which is the official name of 5.56
NATO [5]. It is an intermediate cartridge family developed in Belgium by FN Herstal. The standard
cartridge of 5.56�mm case can handle up to 430.0 MPa (62,366 psi) piezo service pressure,
depending on the black power type [6]. The black powder, also known as gunpowder, is the chemical
explosive which is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate (KNO3), which supplies oxygen
for the reaction [7]. It has been widely used as a propellant in firearms, as a pyrotechnic composition
Content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. Any further distribution
of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.
Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd
1
Siam Physics Congress 2017 (SPC2017)
IOP Conf. Series: Journal of Physics: Conf. Series 1234567890
901 (2017) 012126
IOP Publishing
doi:10.1088/1742-6596/901/1/012126
in fireworks. The composition, sulfur and charcoal act as fuels, and the oxidizer are saltpetre.
Potassium nitrate is the most important ingredient in terms of both bulk and function because the
combustion process releases oxygen from the potassium nitrate, promoting the rapid burning of the
other ingredients [8]. Because of its burning properties and the amount of heat and gas volume that it
generates, black powder firearms are in limited use today. The new smokeless nitrate-based powders
have been developed by using the different type of chemical compound; however, they can still be
classified as the same family [8-10]. The chemical composition is confidential according to the source
of each bullet. Most of them had similar significantly reduced amounts of smoke and combustion
products. Smokeless black powder has different burning properties and different energy. Therefore,
the studies of the combustion energy values and chemical compositions of black powder might give
the idea of the production sources and can track down crimes for the forensic investigation. In this
research, four M-16 black powders were determined their energy values by using calorimetric bomb
technique and the studies of the composition analysis have been investigated using CHNS element
analyser. The relationship between the energy values and chemical compositions were also determines
and from the authors best knowledge, these values were reported in any literature before.
2. Experimental
Material: Four M-16 bullets were brought from the different companies and disported using RCBS
Pow?r Pull� Kit.The black powders were removed and coded black S1-S4. As shown in Figure 1, the
black powder was removed from the bullet.
Figure 1. The smokeless nitrate-based black powders
Instrumental: CHNS/O: Analyzer model Thermo Quest FlashEA 1112 was used for analyzing the
elements C H N S and O in samples for both liquids and solids by the method of burning samples at
high temperature into mixture gas, the samples were prepared as homogenous.
Bomb Calorimeter (Bomb) model IKA C5000was used to measure thermal energy of samples
materials according to ASTM, by burning materials with oxygen to give out heat, water tank receives
the heat and the increased water temperature was measured to calculate the thermal energy of
materials. The conditions of this research were; Left furnace temperature 900 篊, Oven temperature 60
篊, Carrier flow 130 mL/min, Reference flow 100 mL/min and Oxygen flow 250 mL/min
respectively.
2
Siam Physics Congress 2017 (SPC2017)
IOP Conf. Series: Journal of Physics: Conf. Series 1234567890
901 (2017) 012126
IOP Publishing
doi:10.1088/1742-6596/901/1/012126
3. Results and discussions
The heat of combustion is one of the meanings of energy, the efficiency of black powder samples.
Black powder samples S1-S4 were applied to determine the gross heating value in Joules/g and
Calories/g and the results were showed in Table 1. The M-16 black powder S1 gave the highest
heating value, while S2 gave slightly lower gross heating value than S1 but significantly higher than
S3. However, S4 gave the lowest heating value with 926.3 Cal/g. These might resulted from the black
powders from different sources contained different compositions and resulted in the difference in the
energy released when combustion.
Table 1. Calorimetric bomb technique results of samples 1-4, the gross heating value in
Calories/g and Joules/g.
Gross heating value � SD
Calories/g
Joules/g
2,543.0 � 3.0
10,647.0 � 13.5
2,488.0 � 2.6
10,416.0 � 9.6
1,261.3 � 35.8
5,281.0 � 150.7
926.3 � 42.0
3,878.3 � 176.7
Samples
S1
S2
S3
S4
To examine the composition in the black powders, samples S1-S4 has been determined their chemical
composition using CHNS/O element analyser. The results were shown in Table 2 and found that the
composition of sample S1 and S2 showed similar amount of chemical compositions with carton atom
28.37% and 27.60%, respectively and no sulfur atom was detected. Sample S3, the carbon was
detected as 11.37% however, it showed to consist of sulphur 17.23%. For sample S4, even though the
sulfur atom was detected 0.023% (slightly higher than S1 and S2), the carbon atom was significantly
lower than S1 and S2 but slightly higher than S3. Thus, the heat of combustion was depended on the
chemical composition as explained using the coal combustion theory [11]. In combustion processed,
the carbon liberated energy 33.94 kJ/g, while sulfur liberated energy 9.141 kJ/g. Hydrogen atom
liberated the large amount of energy as 142.67 kJ/g. Thus, the lowest heat of combustion from S4 can
be explained by the lower amount of chemical atoms that produced energy.
Table 2. Chemical composition C/H/N/S of samples 1- 4 in %w/w
Sample
S1
S2
S3
S4
C
28.37�16
27.60�13
11.37�10
14.78�12
Composition(%w/w) � SD
H
N
2.77�09
14.25�06
3.01�02
13.76�20
0.19�001
10.04�03
0.21�03
11.71�04
3
S
0�0�17.73�10
0.023�002
Siam Physics Congress 2017 (SPC2017)
IOP Conf. Series: Journal of Physics: Conf. Series 1234567890
901 (2017) 012126
IOP Publishing
doi:10.1088/1742-6596/901/1/012126
4. Conclusions
The heat of combustion of various M-16 black powders was the important part of the bullet efficiency
investigations. In this study, the determination of the energy valueshas been carried out. The
calorimetric bomb was used for this study. Four M-16 black powders from the different sources were
used as samples. It was found that, the gross heating values in Joules/g of sample S1-S4 were 10,647,
10,416, 5,281 and 3,878 respectively. The CHNS chemical composition shown that, carbon and
nitrogen compositions of sample S1 had the highest values and provided little differences with sample
S2 while sample S3 and S4 shown the lowest carbon and nitrogen percentage composition. Sample S3
and S4 provided sulfur values while none sulfur values of sample S1 and S2 were detected. As M16
black powders consisted of chemical parts that provided energy, including particularly carbon,
hydrogen and sulfur atoms, these can lead to the estimation of the energy liberated from the
combustion process and also the identification of production sources. Therefore, this work could lead
to the application of chemical composition analysis for the investigation of crimes inforensic science.
5. Acknowledgments
This work was funded by the Thai Office of the Higher Education Commission. The authors would
like to kindly thank the Royal Thai Army Ordnance Department for providing M16 bullets sample
brought from different companies. This study was supported in part by the Graduate Program
Scholarship from the Graduate School, Kasetsart University. Thanks to Forensics Science program,
Faculty of Arts and Science, Kasetsart University
References
[1] United States Department of Army 2002 Field Manual FM 3-06.11 Combined Arms Operations
in Urban Terrain (Washington DC: Headquarter United States Department of Army)
[2] United States Department of Army 2003Field Manual FM 3-22.9
Rifle Marksmanship M16A1, M16A2/3, M16A4 and M4 Carbine (Washington DC:
Headquarter United States Department of Army)
[3] United States Department of Navy1996 Marine Corps Warfighting Publication
MCWP 3-15.1 Machine Guns and Machine Gun Gunnery (Washington DC: Headquarter
United States Department of Navy)
[4] United States Department of Army 1994 Technical Manual TM
43-0001-27 Army Ammunition Data Sheets For Small Caliber Ammunition (Washington
DC: Headquarter United States Department of Army)
[5] Mason R M 2015 5.56� mm NATO AR Platform & Calibers First$trike
[6] Bernnes and Frank C 1972 Cartridges of the world Northfield II: DBI
[7] Devis L T 2016 The Chemistry of Powder and Explosives Pickle Partners Publishing
[8] Agrawal P J 2010 High Energy Materials: Propellants, Explosives and Pyrotechnics T J
International Ltd., Padstow Cornwall
[9] Venugopalan S 2015 The Propulsive Facet of HEMs: I (Gun Propellants) Demystifying
Explosives 105-132
[10] Blackledge D R 2007 Forensic Analysis on the Cutting Edge: New Methods for Trace Evidence
AnalysisJohn Wiley & Sons Inc., Hoboken New Jersey Published simultaneously in
Canada
[11] Coal Combustion Theory Source: https://www.electrical4u.com/coal-combustion-theory, May
29, 2017.
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