Influence of an electric field on the burning behavior of solid fuels and propellants

Gregory Young, Jeremy J. Koeck, Nathaniel T. Conlin, Jordan L. Sell, Grant A. Risha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


An experimental study on the effects of an applied external electric field on the combustion behavior of solid fuels and solid propellants has been conducted. In an opposed flow burning configuration, application of an electric field was shown to extinguish a paraffin fuel and gaseous oxygen flame over a broad range of operating conditions. When subjected to the electric field, burning paraffin fuel strands were found to extinguish at various axial locations relative to the exit of the oxidizer gas jet. Extinguishment location was found to be a function of field strength as well as electrode surface area, while changes in polarity did not significantly alter the results. In addition, the combustion behaviors of two composite solid rocket propellants were studied while subjected to an external electric field. Both propellants were based on HTPB/AP combinations, with one propellant containing aluminum and the other being non-aluminized. Application of an electric field to the composite solid rocket propellant strands demonstrated decreases in propellant burning rate under all operating conditions for both propellants including changes in polarity. The flame structure of the aluminized propellant was examined closely as the luminosity, flame length, and flame width varied significantly with field strength and burning location of the strand relative to the electrodes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-130
Number of pages9
JournalPropellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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