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International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion
ESCI SJR: 0.149 SNIP: 0.16 CiteScore™: 0.29

ISSN Печать: 2150-766X
ISSN Онлайн: 2150-7678

International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion

DOI: 10.1615/IntJEnergeticMaterialsChemProp.v4.i1-6.610
pages 646-660

HIGH BURNING RATE SOLID ROCKET PROPELLANTS

G. Doriath
SNPE Research Centre 91710 Vert-le-Petit - France

Краткое описание

The need for high velocity in ground to air missile applications which require a very short time of combustion for the rocket motor and for the thrusters piloting the trajectory, has prompted SNPE to study and develop under governmental funding new minimum and reduced smoke solid propellants with high burning rate which will be able to meet also the high energy and IM requirements. As it has already recently shown Butacene catalysed reduced smoke composite propellants are a good base to achieve high burning rate with a relatively reduced pressure exponent in a large range of operational pressure. The adjustment of the combustion characteristics may be obtained by controlling the content of Butacene in direct relationship with the content of iron, and the content of Ammonium Perchlorate and its particles size. The use of Ultra Fine Ammonium Perchlorate allows to achieve ultra high burning rates, between 50 mm/s to 200 mm/s in a very large range of pressure as the pressure exponent may stay under 0.5 until several hundreds of bars.
Unlike composite propellant for which it is relatively easy to achieve high burning rate as a lot of various catalysts act on the decomposition mechanism of the Ammonium Perchlorate oxidiser, minimum smoke XLDB propellants which use Nitramine (RDX) cannot be accelerated in a efficient way by the use of additives modifying the combustion of this "monopropellant" filler. Very few combustion catalysts of pure RDX exist and they are incompatible with the main energetic ingredients of the XLDB binders. Therefore the only practical ways to achieve high burning rate minimum smoke propellants are :

  • to incorporate ballistic modifiers used in conventional double base propellants such as lead catalysts or more recently SNPE developed unleaded catalysts which act on the decomposition of the binder. But the effects on the burning rate stay at a limited level, which lags far from our goals. The low pressure exponents are nevertheless very attractive.
  • to use new energetic ingredients, binder or filler, which burn by themselves faster than the conventional constituents. Some great results have been obtained with new formulations which use GAP binder and CL 20 as a main filler. Burning rate as high as 40 mm/s at operational pressure will be achievable in the next future if a good compromise with energetic properties and IM objectives may be found.
In conclusion, today, to achieve very high burning rates, specifically required for some thruster grain design, Butacene based reduced smoke propellants with Ultra Fine Ammonium Perchlorate are the only solution. But for the main propulsion which needs medium range of burning rate, minimum smoke propellants are available.


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