The unstable behaviour of energetic materials is associated with the formation of decomposition products. Methods of qualitative or quantitative detection of these products was a subject of research and development since the beginning of the last century. This R&D effort provided a wide range of methods which helped with stability determination and protection against serious consequences. A global approach to quality controlling simplified testing and unified them into only a few widely followed standard methods.

These methods are focused on the detection or quantification of nitrogen oxides (NOX) produced by a sample at exactly given conditions. Conditions are characterized by dimensions of test tubes, heating blocks and temperature. Detection is performed with standard test papers that are produced according to an exact procedure which ensures comparability of results. Usually, a time required for test paper colour change is a result of the test. Another glassware allows NOX absorption into described solutions. Further analysis provides an exact amount of NOX  evolved in a given time and conditions.


Monitoring of chemical stability is essential for reliable risk and safety management of single or double based gun powders, rocket fuels and other propellants, pyrotechnic mixtures, explosives, hazardous chemicals, polymers, composites, binders and others.  An integral part of this monitoring is compatibility consideration of or mixtures of these materials. Stability and compatibility consideration is deeply incorporated in quality and safety management of production, storage and warehousing. Most of the military products require periodical inspection for their lifetime monitoring. Stability parameters are essential values for every energetic material and the supply chain includes multiple overhanding inspections.

A typical example is a supply chain of gun propellants. The producer of propellant determines and declares its stability as required by quality management. The product is dispatched and transported for processing eg. to ammunition producer. Acceptance of the propellant shall include verification of declared values. The final product end-user shall do another quality inspection of declared values.