Movement of TNT and RDX from composition B detonation residues in solution and sediment during runoff

Favianna Cubello, Viktor Polyakov, Stephen Mercer Meding, Warren Kadoya, Samuel Beal, Katerina Dontsova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Energetics used in military exercises can potentially contaminate ground and surface waters. This study was conducted to evaluate the movement of Composition B, a formulation that includes TNT (2,4,6-trinitrotoluene), RDX (hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine), and HMX (octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine), in runoff. Mechanisms of transport we examined include movement of energetics dissolved in runoff, as particles and adsorbed to suspended sediment, and in infiltration. Rainfall simulations were conducted under controlled conditions with two rainfall rates (approximately 30 and 50 mm h−1), two soils with different infiltration capacities, and four energetic particle sizes (4.75–9.51 mm, 2.83–4.75 mm, 2–2.83 mm, and <2 mm). Particles remaining on the soil surface after rainfall were measured as well as energetics dissolved in runoff, in suspended sediment, and in infiltration. Greater concentrations of TNT than RDX and HMX were found dissolved in runoff due to its higher solubility and dissolution rates. We also found that particle transport in runoff increased with decrease in particle size. Smaller particle sizes also led to greater transport dissolved in solution. Relationships were found relating runoff and sediment yield to the transport of RDX and TNT. The results of this study allow improved prediction of Composition B transport in runoff and therefore its contamination potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number141023
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • Composition B
  • Erosion
  • Pollutant transport
  • RDX
  • TNT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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