Dissolution and transport of insensitive munitions formulations IMX-101 and IMX-104 in saturated soil columns

Jennifer D. Arthur, Noah W. Mark, Susan Taylor, Jiří Šimůnek, Mark L. Brusseau, Katerina M. Dontsova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Military training exercises can result in deposition of energetic residues on range soils, which ultimately can contaminate groundwater with munitions constituents. Column experiments followed by HYDRUS-1D modeling were conducted to evaluate dissolution and transport of energetic constituents from the new insensitive munitions (IM) formulations IMX-101, a mixture of 3-nitro-1,2,4-triazol-5-one (NTO), nitroguanidine (NQ), and 2, 4-dinitroanisole (DNAN), and IMX-104, a mixture of NTO, 1,3,5-hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) and DNAN. NTO and DNAN are emerging contaminants associated with the development of insensitive munitions as replacements for traditional munitions. Flow interruption experiments were performed to investigate dissolution kinetics and sorption non-equilibrium between soil and solution phases. The results indicated that insensitive munitions compounds dissolved in order of their aqueous solubility, consistent with prior dissolution studies conducted in the absence of soil. Initial elution of the high concentration pulse of highly soluble NTO and NQ was followed by lower concentrations, while DNAN had generally lower and more constant concentrations in leachate. The sorption of NTO and NQ was low, while RDX, 1,3,5,7-octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitrotetrazocine (HMX, an impurity in technical grade RDX), and DNAN all exhibited appreciable sorption. DNAN transformation was observed, with formation of amino-reduction products 2-ANAN (2-amino-4-nitroanisole) and 4-ANAN (4-amino-2-nitroanisole). HYDRUS-1D model, incorporating one-dimensional advective-dispersive transport with particle dissolution and first-order solute transformation was used to simulate the measured breakthrough curves. Optimized dissolution parameters varied widely but were correlated between compounds in the same formulation. Determined adsorption coefficients generally agreed with values determined from batch and column studies conducted with pure NTO and DNAN, while mass-loss rate coefficients were in better agreement with ones from batch than column studies possibly due to suppression of microbial transformation during elution of high concentrations of explosives. Even in the low organic matter soils selected in this study DNAN experienced significant retardation and transformation, indicating potential for its natural attenuation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)758-768
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - May 15 2018


  • 2, 4-Dinitroanisole (DNAN)
  • 3-Nitro-1,2,4-triazol-5-one (NTO)
  • Dissolution
  • HYDRUS-1D modeling
  • IMX formulations
  • Insensitive munitions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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