New Outlook on the High-Pressure Behavior of Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate

Report No. ARL-TR-4238
Authors: Jennifer A. Ciezak; Timothy A. Jenkins
Date/Pages: September 2007; 26 pages
Abstract: To gain insight into the high-pressure behavior of pentaerythritol tetranitrate (C(CH2ONO2)4), single crystal Raman spectroscopy results were obtained for hydrostatic/quasi-hydrostatic and non-hydrostatic compression in a diamond anvil cell. Detailed analyses of the pressure-induced changes in the single-crystal/neon hydrostatic media revealed the splitting of several vibrational modes and many intensity fluctuations, which provide strong evidence for a pressure-induced symmetry modification from S4 to D2 rather than a high-pressure phase transition. Near 14.8 GPa, many vibrational features disappeared or significantly broadened. These spectral modifications were coincident with the appearance of cracks in the single crystal, which are believed to result from an elastic-plastic deformation attributable to slip plane activation. The effect of pressure media on the high-pressure behavior was also studied. The onset pressure of the S4 to D2 symmetry modification was found to be strongly dependent on the pressure media, but all single crystal samples that survived to 14.8 GPa were subject to the elastic-plastic deformation. If the pressure in the diamond anvil cell did not exceed 14.5 GPa, the samples could be quenched and recovered at ambient pressure; however, once the pressure exceeded 14.5 GPa and the slip planes became activated, the samples decomposed upon return to ambient conditions.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2007