CSIR Landward Sciences has access to a laboratory at Kloppersbos, north of Pretoria, for the formulation and characterisation of energetic materials. Chemical analysis is perform on both conventional and unconventional energetic materials (e.g. IEDs) to identify the contents, composition and quality of the materials used in product development, manufacturing and in-service support activities.

Analytical methods available in this laboratory for the analysis of explosives include:

  • Chemical tests (based on colour reaction),
  • Chromatographic methods, such as thin layer chromatography (TLC),
  • Gas chromatography mass spectrometer (GC MS) and,
  • Differential Thermal Analysis (DTA).

The characterization of explosives involves the measuring and evaluation of chemical and structural basis data, of both new substances formulated in-house as well as of commercially-available substances prior to and post detonation. Prior detonation data collection will include the investigation of purity, molecular weight distribution, traces of other substances; the identification of side products and of thermal properties, the migration pattern of plasticizers, solvent residues and the emission behaviour of polymer-bonded materials, sensitivity and compatibility.