Decomposition mechanism scenarios of CL-20 co-crystals revealed by ReaxFF molecular dynamics: similarities and differences
Understanding on the similarities and differences of decomposition mechanisms of CL-20 and its cocrystals is of great interest for practical applications of CL-20 cocrystals. The responses of CL-20 cocrystals to thermal stimulus were investigated using ReaxFF molecular dynamics simulations of two representative cocrystals CL-20/HMX and CL-20/TNT at adiabatic conditions against the baseline system of pure CL-20. The comprehensive chemical details were revealed with aid of the unique code of VARxMD. The three CL-20-involved reactive systems all exhibit distinct three-stage character during adiabatic decomposition when using the double peaks of major intermediate NO2 amount as boundary. By taking advantage of the three-stage classification, a clear scenario for the similar stimulus-response of the CL-20 cocrystals can be elucidated for the dominant primary decomposition of CL-20 in stage I and the transition of favored chemical mechanisms from generation of intermediates/radicals in stage II into their consumption to form stable products in stage III. The similar chemical behaviors are rooted in the dominance of CL-20 chemistry in initial response of its cocrystals to thermal stimulus. The prolonged reaction zone uncovers the slowed decomposition kinetics of CL-20/HMX and CL-20/TNT, which is associated with the altered kinetics of CL-20 decomposition specifically by N-NO2 bond scission and CL-20 skeleton decay. The retarded CL-20 decomposition in its cocrystals consequently results in more moderate self-heating and less violent exothermic reactions that agrees with the experimental observations of improved stability and damaged detonation performance of CL-20 cocrystals particularly for CL-20/TNT. What obtained in this work suggests that ReaxFF MD simulations can provide useful insight for the modulated chemical properties of varied CL-20 cocrystals.