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IMX-101 is a high-performance insensitive high explosive composite mixture developed by BAE Systems and the United States Army to replace TNT in artillery shells, starting as soon as 2011.[1][2][3][4] IMX stands for "Insensitive Munitions eXplosives", which refers to the purpose of IMX-101: to provide explosive force equivalent to TNT without its sensitivity to shocks such as gunfire, explosions from improvised explosive devices, fire, and shrapnel. For example, it is believed that a training incident in Nevada which killed seven Marines would not have occurred with the new explosive. On March 23, 2013, the United States Army ordered $780 million worth of the explosive, with a production of millions of pounds annually, to be produced by BAE at Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Tennessee.[5] The new explosive will cost $8 per pound, compared to $6 per pound for TNT.[6]

Time Magazine called IMX-101 one of the "50 best inventions of 2010".[6]


It is composed of ingredients including 2,4-dinitroanisole (DNAN) and nitrotriazolone (NTO).[5] The nominal composition is DNAN, NQ (nitroguanidine), NTO.[7][8] Trace amounts of MNA (N-methyl-p-nitroaniline) are included in some formulations to aid in processing.[9][10]

A Family of Insensitive Melt Cast Explosive Formulations: Insensitive Melt Cast Explosives manufactured at Holston Army Ammunition Plant[7]
Formulation Key Ingredients Replaces Purpose Qualification Status (2012)
IMX-101 DNAN + NTO + NQ TNT Artillery and other large caliber munitions Material qualified; Type qualified for 155mm M795, on-going for 155mm M1122 and 105mm projectiles
IMX-104 DNAN + NTO + RDX Comp B Mortar applications Material qualified; Type qualification on-going for 81mm mortar, 60mm & 120mm to follow
PAX-48 DNAN + NTO + HMX Comp B Mortar and tank ammunition Material qualified; Type qualification achieved for 120mm IM HE-T tracer round (NAMMO)
OSX-12 DNAN + NTO + RDX + Al PAX-28 High blast applications Material under evaluation
PAX-21 DNAN + RDX + AP + MNA Main fill for the 60mm M768 Mortar Rounds Currently in-use in theater
PAX-41 DNAN + RDX + MNA[clarification needed] Main fill for the Spider Grenade, thus a low critical diameter is required.[11]

The performance of PAX-28, a thermobaric, containing a mixture of RDX, DNAN, Al, AP and MNA was found to have an indoor explosive equivalency factor of 1.62 when compared to Composition B.[10] OSX-12 is being studied as a replacement to PAX-28.


Like Composition B, IMX formulations are melt-castable without thermal degradation, and are thus processed into munitions by a melt pour process starting with a batch melt kettle heated by a steam heat exchanger.[12]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ BAE IMX-101 Explosive Approved To Replace TNT In US Army Artillery
  2. ^ DTIC Background and Introduction to IMX-101, -102 and -103 Archived 2010-08-15 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ The Application of New IM Explosive Candidates - DTIC Online Archived 2012-10-03 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Army Approves Safer Explosive To Replace TNT
  5. ^ a b Allison Barrie (2013-03-26). "Bye bye, TNT: New generation of explosives for the Army". Fox News.
  6. ^ a b Mark Thompson (2010-11-13). "Less Dangerous Explosives". Time Magazine.
  7. ^ a b This table is closely modelled on Virgil Fung; et al. (2012). "2012 IMEMTS, Las Vegas, NV (S2DSEA2012-0148) Process Improvement and Optimization of Insensitive Explosive IMX-101 2012 Insensitive Munitions & Energetic Material Technology Symposium" Check |url= value (help). U.S. Army. (Strangely, DNS failed to resolve - citing web cache. Note composition ratios add to 100.300, at least in the cached version)
  8. ^ Cuddy, Michael F.; Poda, Aimee R.; Chappell, Mark A. (2014). "Estimations of Vapor Pressures by Thermogravimetric Analysis of the Insensitive Munitions IMX-101, IMX-104, and Individual Components". Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics. 39 (2): 236–242. doi:10.1002/prep.201300069.
  9. ^ Rao, Balaji; Wang, Wei; Cai, Qingsong; Anderson, Todd; Gu, Baohua (2013). "Photochemical transformation of the insensitive munitions compound 2,4-dinitroanisole". Science of the Total Environment. 443: 692–699. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.11.033. PMID 23228715.
  10. ^ a b "Insenstive High Explosives (IHE)".
  11. ^ "DEVELOPMENT & OPTIMIZATION OF A PRODUCTION METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING PAX-41" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 19, 2013.
  12. ^ "IMX-104 High Explosive (HE) Loading of 81mm & 120mm Mortars" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-06-04.