Development and characterization of high performance solid propellants containing nano-sized energetic ingredients

J. R. Luman, B. Wehrman, K. K. Kuo, R. A. Yetter, N. M. Masoud, T. G. Manning, L. E. Harris, H. A. Bruck

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


This paper addresses the development of a pair of layered solid propellants suitable for use in a fast-core gun-propellant charge application. A baseline propellant combination was formulated using RDX particles and thermoplastic-elastomer binder as the major ingredients and CL-20 and nitroguanadine as separate additives for high- and low-energy propellants. The propellant's burning rate was characterized and insufficient burning-rate ratio between the fast and slow baseline propellants was found. Impetus obtained from the combustion of the combined baseline propellants was also found to be far from the demanded value of 1300 J/g. Several modifications were made by introducing nano-sized aluminum particles and ultra-fine boron particles as well as high-energy oxidizer HNF into the propellant formulation. It was found that the addition of nano-sized aluminum particles can enhance the propellant burning rate only when the propellant contains oxidizers with a positive oxygen balance. Without the presence of positive oxygen balance oxidizer, the exothermic reaction of aluminum and boron particles occurs at a large distance from the burning surface introducing an energy-sink effect. The results obtained from the combustion of the advanced propellants show that an average impetus of 1299 J/g, a flame temperature of 3380 K with a burn rate ratio around 3 between the fast- and the slow-burning layers can be achieved. These conditions are desired for fast-core layered propellant applications. The impact sensitivities of the baseline, intermediate and advanced propellants were measured. The results show that addition of HNF and nano-sized aluminum exhibited improved impact sensitivity at levels that can be considered acceptable for deployment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2089-2096
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Volume31 II
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007
Event31st International Symposium on Combustion - Heidelberg, Germany
Duration: Aug 5 2006Aug 11 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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