Highly accurate theoretical values of bond energies and activation barriers of primary decomposition reactions are crucial for reliable predictions of thermal decomposition and detonation-related phenomena of energetic materials (EM). However, due to the prohibitive computational cost, high-level ab initio calculations had been impractical for a large number of important EMs, including, e.g., hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane (CL-20). In the present work, we obtained accurate bond dissociation energies and the activation barriers for primary decomposition reactions for a series of novel promising caged polynitroamino and polynitro EMs, viz., CL-20, TEX, octanitrocubane (ONC), and hexanitro derivatives of adamantane, using the recently proposed domain-localized pair natural orbitals (DLPNO) modifications of coupled cluster techniques. DLPNO-CCSD(T) allows for routine quadruple-ζ basis set quality coupled cluster calculations for the species comprised of ∼30 non-H atoms. The benchmarks on a number of simpler congeners of CL-20 and ONC revealed that the DLPNO approach does not deteriorate the quality of the quadruple-ζ coupled cluster procedure. With the aid of this technique, the full set of gas-phase primary decomposition reactions for all 9 conformers of CL-20 was considered. For all species studied, C-NO2 or N-NO2 radical decomposition channels dominate over molecular counterparts. The best theoretical results reported in the literature so far, viz., density functional theory energies of nitro group radical elimination in CL-20 and ONC, underestimate the value by ∼10 kcal mol-1. We also present reliable and accurate gas-phase formation enthalpies for CL-20, ONC, and related species. In a more general sense, these results offer a new level of predictive computational kinetics for polynitro-caged energetic materials.
- MOLECULAR-DYNAMICS SIMULATION
- THERMODYNAMIC PROPERTIES