Presented at the Munitions Technology Symposium IV Conference, Reno, NV, February 1997.

Lessons Learned Developing a Pyrotechnic/Thermite Torch

Alan C. Munger
Barry T. Neyer
EG&G Optoelectronics / Star City
Miamisburg, OH 45343-0529

Contact Address
Barry T. Neyer
PerkinElmer Optoelectronics
1100 Vanguard Blvd
Miamisburg, OH 45342
(937) 865-5586
(937) 865-5170 (Fax)


EG&G Optoelectronics manufactures a pyrotechnically driven Thermite Torch that can be used for a variety of purposes. For example, it will effectively destroy a small electronic package by incineration. The device can be reliably ignited by a standard 3.5 amp 2-3 ms constant current pulse or a CDU charged to 20 mJ.

The device has been subjected to various environmental conditions, and destructively tested cold, ambient, and hot. It always met the minimum requirements for burning a hole in a stainless steel plate, and had minimal variation in the hole diameter.

Although the final design proved to be very satisfactory, the initial design had various design flaws that were not discovered until Qualification. The design was developed by the customer. EG&G Optoelectronics was required to meet an extremely tight production schedule, and was not contracted to thoroughly test the design. This paper will discuss the Thermite Torch design, its performance, and the problems that were encountered during Qualification. It also discusses lessons learned from the design and qualification approach.

Technical Papers of Dr. Barry T. Neyer

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