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STEAMOUT OF EXPLOSIVE FILLERS
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TM-9-1300-277 Demilitarization/Disposal of Conventional Munitions Manual
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Figure 6-4. APE 1236 deactivation furnace (general assembly)
TM 9-1300-277
contamination prior to reuse or transfer to the Defense
meltout process installed at Ravenna AAP for removing
Property Disposal Officer or to Inert Storage Area.
TNT and Comp B loads from 90mm and 155mn
Certification of scrap metal should be made in
projectiles. This meltout process applies steam only to
accordance with DOD 4160.21-M-1.
the outside of a munition in a steam cabinet.
6-7. APE 1236 DEACTIVATION FURNACE
c. This facility also has a number of steam
cabinets for 5-inch and smaller items. These items are
placed vertically, open-end down on racks in the
a. Small
explosive
items
are
normally
cabinet, and surrounded with steam until the explosive
demilitarized in the deactivation furnace.  The APE
melts and runs out. There are no jets into the munitions.
1236 Deactivation Furnace is a steel rotary kiln having
an overall length of 30 feet and a diameter of four feet
(figs. 6-4 through 6-6). The main body is a horizontal
d. There is minimal water discharge from this
retort (four 60 inch sections bolted end to end) with side
facility. Most of the steam condensate evaporates from
walls about 2-1/4 inches thick and with a spiral internal
the corrugated pans.
The discharge is mostly
element which acts like a screw conveyor in moving
washdown. There is a major problem in that TNT steam
materials through the unit as the retort slowly rotates.
distills overhead and deposits TNT in the overhead
Newer models have center retort sections with walls 3-
ductwork which/must be manually cleaned periodically.
1/4 inches thick in order to process individual munitions
containing 800 grains of explosive.
The furnace
e. The explosives removal mechanism relies
provides the capability for thermal destruction of
primarily upon the melting action of the hot steam, and
explosives  contained  in  small  arms  ammunition,
there is little or no erosive action. Consequently, the
primers, fuzes, and boosters. In addition, the furnace
process is best for TNT and less effective for fills with a
may be utilized for flashing 75mm through 120mm
high percentage of non-meltable components such as
projectiles after washout of explosive charge.  Items
RDX, HMX, or aluminum. The process is superior for
such as small arms ammunition, artillery fuzes, emptied
TNT because the steam vapor expands to fill even the
20mm cartridge cases, and the like are fed to the
most irregular cavity and gives better heat transfer than
furnace at a predetermined rate prescribed for each
hot water which must be in direct contact with the
item via a steel conveyor belt which carries them high
explosive in order to melt it. It has another advantage in
above the mouth of the furnace and drops them down a
that the only wastewater it steam condensate, and that
chute into the feed end of the rotating retort. An oil or
is evaporated in the dewatering step, so that there is
gas fired burner in the discharge end of the tube
minimal wastewater disposal problem. However, this is
provides a flame and hot flue gases, which sweep
a time-consuming, manual process.
through the retort and up a stack mounted over the feed
end.  The temperature at the burner end is about
f. It should also be noted that, in spite of the
1200 ; it is about 600-900 in the middle sections and
F
F
feeling that steamout is effectively limited to TNT fills,
about 400-500 at the stack end.
F
Crane AAA has successfully applied it to H-6, Tritonal,
and HBX. Nevertheless, a study done by Battelle for the
b. As the items being demilitarized are carried
Western Demilitarization Facility recommended that it
through the retort by the spiral element, explosives burn
be considered mainly for TNT filler.
or detonate as they reach their burning or initiation
temperatures.
The furnace operating speeds are
g. Although it cannot be considered a widely used
adjusted so that this happens approximately in the
process, there are steamout facilities at Hawthorne AAP,
center of the retort.  After explosion or burning, the
McAlester AAP, NWS Yorktown, NTS Keyport, Joliet
items progress on through the 1200 section and fall
F
AAP, Cornhusker AAP, Newport AAP, and Pine Bluff
out the discharge end onto another conveyor which
Arsenal (for white phosphorus). There is also a related
carries the now-inert metal parts to a
Change 1
6-7

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