Nalas was recently awarded two Phase I SBIR Contracts with the US Navy; the main objective of the project is to develop a low-cost process to CL-20, the most powerful explosive known to man. The proposals were written by Dr. David Ford and Dr. Pascal Dube in response to Navy SBIR Solicitation 2014.1 Topic N141-017; each project was awarded in May. Efforts to design and determine feasibility of a concept for an alternate synthesis route to CL-20 amenable to low-cost commercial production are now underway.
CL-20 possesses Insensitive Munitions (IM) qualities when isolated in the desired particle size and morphology, making it a prime candidate for a variety of applications. As CL-20 is making its way into various formulations, the demand for this material has only been diminished by its high commercial cost arising from expensive reagents and challenges associated with manufacture. Decades of work on this route have not provided the expected commercial output and low cost CL-20 necessary for replacing HMX in broad applications, but has further highlighted that this goal can only be achieved by a new approach to the synthesis of CL-20. Hence, the development of an inexpensive and reliable approach to synthesize CL-20 is one of the greatest synthetic challenges facing the energetic materials community today. We are honored that our awesome scientists will have the opportunity to work on TWO projects, each with a unique technical approach, in parallel and look forward to their success! Congrats Dave and Pascal and the rest of the Nalas team!