Development of a miniature calorimeter for identification and detection of energetic compounds
The development of a versatile system capable of providing rapid, portable, and inexpensive detection of energetic compounds is needed critically for fields of homeland security, forensic analysis, emergency response, and industrial hazards analysis. The hand-held nanocalorimeter will serve as a first-of-its-kind screening tools for energetic compounds directly in the settings where they are needed with high efficiency, reduced cost, and simplicity with ease of use. To test the concept of the simplified nanocalorimeter design, the thermal transition associated with the boiling point of acetone was studied. The boiling point of pentane was measured using the new nanocalorimeter cell. For the redesigned device, the measured input energy is about 0.680 J, or about 4.8 times the required input energy for the liquid-vapor transition of pentane. In the original design, the measured input heat during the vapor-liquid transition of acetone was about 4.50 J, or about 32.4 times the required input energy for this phase change. Thus, the reduced input energy reflects the reduced thermal mass in the redesigned device. This is an abstract of a paper presented at the AIChE Spring National Meeting (Houston, TX 4/22-27/2007).