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International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion
ESCI SJR: 0.28 SNIP: 0.421 CiteScore™: 0.9

ISSN Print: 2150-766X
ISSN Online: 2150-7678

International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion

DOI: 10.1615/IntJEnergeticMaterialsChemProp.2013005791
pages 451-471

COMBUSTION OF PTFE-BORON COMPOSITIONS FOR PROPULSION APPLICATIONS

Gregory Young
Research and Development Department, Naval Surface Warfare Center-Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division, Indian Head, Maryland 20640
Chad A. Stoltz
Naval Surface Warfare Center - Indian Head Division, Research and Development Department, Indian Head, MD
Brian P. Mason
Naval Surface Warfare Center - Indian Head Division, Research and Development Department, Indian Head, MD
Vasant S. Joshi
Naval Surface Warfare Center - Indian Head Division, Research and Development Department, Indian Head, MD
Reed H. Johansson
Department of Aerospace Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA
Terrence L. Connell, Jr.
Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA
Grant A. Risha
The Pennsylvania State University-Altoona, Altoona, Pennsylvania 16601, USA
Richard A. Yetter
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA

ABSTRACT

An experimental study was conducted to evaluate the potential of solid fuels based on PTFE and boron mixtures for hybrid rocket motor applications. Specifically, a processing technique based on sintering was studied to determine the viability of these fuels. Sintering of the fuels provided reasonable mechanical properties to allow for exploration of these fuels without the addition of performance-robbing ingredients. Linear regression rates of sintered and unsintered fuels were collected in a diffusion flame setting with gaseous oxygen as the oxidizing component demonstrating that the sintering process had no effect. This family of fuels has shown that they will not combust at atmospheric pressure unless pure oxygen is present. However, sintered fuels with boron loadings greater than or equal to 25% by weight do self-propagate at atmospheric pressure once ignited in the presence of oxygen, whereas unsintered fuels do not self-propagate unless they have boron loadings greater than or equal to 30% by weight. At pressures up to 12 MPa, fuels containing 10% by weight boron would not self-propagate in a nitrogen atmosphere, whereas fuels containing 20% boron would self-propagate at pressures greater than about 5.7 MPa. Preliminary lab-scale rocket motor firings demonstrate the viability of a hybrid rocket based on PTFE and boron mixtures. In addition, they demonstrate that the regression rates of these fuels show dependencies on pressure and possibly oxidizer flow rate as well. Thermochemical analysis suggests that these fuels offer a significant performance benefit in terms of density impulse, while also presenting a significant technological challenge due to excessively high flame temperatures for some mixtures.


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