US ARMY SCI­EN­TISTS DE­VEL­OP­ING NEW SMOKE­SCREEN COM­PO­SI­TIONS

SP's LandForces - - SP’S EXCLUSIVES / NEWS IN BRIEF -

Sci­en­tists from the US Army’s Edge­wood Chemical Bi­o­log­i­cal Cen­ter (ECBC) are de­vel­op­ing new smoke­screen com­po­si­tions to help soldiers ef­fec­tively mask them­selves from en­emy fire. De­vel­oped un­der a multi-year pro­gramme, the new for­mula is ex­pected to re­place the army’s World War II-era MP2S-HC screen­ing smoke grenade, which de­liv­ers a dense cloud of grey hex­achloroethane smoke with a dis­charge time of 100 sec­onds. The sci­en­tists are cur­rently con­sid­er­ing four ba­sic smoke com­po­si­tions, the first of which is a zinc-free com­po­si­tion, HX, which is sim­i­lar to the hex­achloroethane com­po­si­tion but doesn’t gen­er­ate a toxic, ir­ri­tant smoke con­tain­ing zinc chlo­ride. ECBC Py­rotech­nics and Ex­plo­sives Branch se­nior en­gi­neer Joseph Do­man­ico said the chemical re­ac­tion of the HX com­po­si­tion pro­duces slightly less com­bus­tion prod­ucts and has a higher ef­fi­ciency, which re­sults in a sim­i­larly dense smoke cloud. The sec­ond hex­achloroethane-free com­po­si­tion en­cap­su­lates chlo­rine atoms in a plas­tic ma­trix, which are sub­se­quently freed by the heat of com­bus­tion, en­abling the smoke to pull wa­ter from the at­mos­phere, thus pro­duc­ing a dense smoke cloud.

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