Life Cicle Inventory for Lead Azide Manufacture
ABSTRACT: Like any other manufactured chemical compounds, explosives are produced using chemical reactants and other utilities (steam, heat, compressed air, feed water and electricity) and generate a set of environmental impacts (waste water, solid and water residue and waste heat, for example). On top of that, one can count the intrinsic hazard characteristic of explosives and the possibility of accidents involving these compounds. Within this framework, explosives present themselves as chemical compounds suitable for both LCI (Life Cycle Inventory) and LCA (Life Cycle Assessment). This LCI study takes into account all the raw materials, utilities and wastes taking place during the production process. In this particular article, lead azide has its processed mapped and inventoried under the scope of ISO 14040. ISO 14040:2006 describes the principles and framework for life cycle assessment (LCA), including: definition of the goal and scope of the LCA, the life cycle inventory (LCI) analysis phase, the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) phase, the life cycle interpretation phase, reporting and critical review of the LCA, limitations of the LCA, the relationship between the LCA phases and conditions for use of value choices and optional elements. The Lead azide was chosen due its singular explosive characteristics (very sensitive, which makes lead azide the explosive of choice as a primer in several applications. The results and conclusions of this study are drawn from the review of the process, its analysis, as well as from the application of life cycle inventory methods upon the manufactory of lead azide, a highly sensitive primer explosive, providing solid ground for the further studies, such as a full LCA assessment. Furthermore, for explosives, most LCA research works aims towards disposal, not addressing manufacturing, which is the main strength of this work.