(758c) The Chemical Engineer Strikes Back – A New Hope for Commercial Process Development

Rothstein, S., Nalas Engineering Services Inc.

The process challenges of optimizing and scaling up the reaction to make 2,6-diaminopyrazine-1-oxide (DAPO), a precursor to a highly promising insensitive energetic material, will be discussed. The original process featured a precisely controlled dual addition of a liquid base and a solid reagent to limit the formation of more than 30% impurity and minimize starting material decomposition. These conditions limited this labor intensive reaction to the laboratory scale and produced DAPO with inconsistent yield and purity. Our understanding of the chemical reactivity led to improved reaction conditions featuring liquid doses rather than a solid dose, thus allowing for the rate of the reaction to be controlled by automated dosing. Using a kinetic model built with DynoChem® software, a robust process was optimized to improve the yield of DAPO and significantly reduce impurity formation.  The reaction was scaled up using the optimized conditions and provides a potential commercial process for DAPO.