Decontamination; i.e.; the cleaning of the emptied casings; is done by means of a burn-out process. In this study; heating the ammunition casings in an open wood fire is compared with heating the casings under controlled conditions in an oven equipped for after-burning of the fumes from the pyrolized explosives. The burned-out casings are sent for re-smelting without further treatment.
An alternative is to cool the casings cryogenically to about -100 ¬įC and crush them before putting the material into the fire or charging it into the oven. The fragmentation method is less risky and; at the same time; the burned-out scrap becomes easier to handle. There may also be a possibility to remove the tars and residual explosive mechanically after cooling; why burning may not be needed.
Our calculations show that the crushing of cooled casings followed by heating in simple wood fires is slightly more economical for a disposal company than using an oven for the burn-out process. However; in a wider perspective; heating in open-air fires costs society twice as much as heating in ovens due to the fact that the resulting air pollution reduces the production of crops and increases corrosion of; e.g.; cars. If we can use the cryogenic method without having to heat-treat afterwards this will be the by far most economical way.