Polymer-bonded explosives (PBXs) are being increasingly used as energetic fillings and components in many systems. They are perceived as more chemically and mechanically stable than traditional fillings such as RDX/TNT. They are castable into predetermined shapes, machinable and can be used as structural components. However, along with all these undeniable advantages, as a class, these materials are now undergoing extensive characterisation to ensure they comply with both the legal and technical requirements in energetic systems.
It is well-known that polymers display non-linear behaviour and are much more complex than, for example, simple metal systems at any rate of strain. The understanding of PBX systems involves areas as diverse as polymer chemistry, chemical compatibility, mechanical properties, impact tests, and thermal stability. In this paper, aspects of energetic material response are outlined which are relevant to the understanding of PBX sensitivity.