US3924405A - Solid propellants with stability enhanced additives of particulate refractory carbides or oxides - Google Patents

Solid propellants with stability enhanced additives of particulate refractory carbides or oxides Download PDF

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US3924405A
US3924405A US360867A US36086773A US3924405A US 3924405 A US3924405 A US 3924405A US 360867 A US360867 A US 360867A US 36086773 A US36086773 A US 36086773A US 3924405 A US3924405 A US 3924405A
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Gilbert A Zimmerman
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Aerojet Rocketdyne Inc
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    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C06EXPLOSIVES; MATCHES
    • C06BEXPLOSIVES OR THERMIC COMPOSITIONS; MANUFACTURE THEREOF; USE OF SINGLE SUBSTANCES AS EXPLOSIVES
    • C06B45/00Compositions or products which are defined by structure or arrangement of component of product
    • C06B45/02Compositions or products which are defined by structure or arrangement of component of product comprising particles of diverse size or shape
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C06EXPLOSIVES; MATCHES
    • C06BEXPLOSIVES OR THERMIC COMPOSITIONS; MANUFACTURE THEREOF; USE OF SINGLE SUBSTANCES AS EXPLOSIVES
    • C06B23/00Compositions characterised by non-explosive or non-thermic constituents
    • C06B23/04Compositions characterised by non-explosive or non-thermic constituents for cooling the explosion gases including antifouling and flash suppressing agents
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C06EXPLOSIVES; MATCHES
    • C06BEXPLOSIVES OR THERMIC COMPOSITIONS; MANUFACTURE THEREOF; USE OF SINGLE SUBSTANCES AS EXPLOSIVES
    • C06B33/00Compositions containing particulate metal, alloy, boron, silicon, selenium or tellurium with at least one oxygen supplying material which is either a metal oxide or a salt, organic or inorganic, capable of yielding a metal oxide
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C06EXPLOSIVES; MATCHES
    • C06BEXPLOSIVES OR THERMIC COMPOSITIONS; MANUFACTURE THEREOF; USE OF SINGLE SUBSTANCES AS EXPLOSIVES
    • C06B45/00Compositions or products which are defined by structure or arrangement of component of product
    • C06B45/04Compositions or products which are defined by structure or arrangement of component of product comprising solid particles dispersed in solid solution or matrix not used for explosives where the matrix consists essentially of nitrated carbohydrates or a low molecular organic explosive
    • C06B45/06Compositions or products which are defined by structure or arrangement of component of product comprising solid particles dispersed in solid solution or matrix not used for explosives where the matrix consists essentially of nitrated carbohydrates or a low molecular organic explosive the solid solution or matrix containing an organic component
    • C06B45/10Compositions or products which are defined by structure or arrangement of component of product comprising solid particles dispersed in solid solution or matrix not used for explosives where the matrix consists essentially of nitrated carbohydrates or a low molecular organic explosive the solid solution or matrix containing an organic component the organic component containing a resin
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10STECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10S149/00Explosive and thermic compositions or charges
    • Y10S149/11Particle size of a component

Abstract

Ammonium perchlorate propellants utilizing a polybutadiene binder provide a smokeless exhaust and burn stably in a motor at a burning rate above 0.40 in/sec at 1,000 psia with no combustion instability if they include 0.25-5% of refractory metal carbides or oxides and carbon in the form of hollow, broken or unbroken carbon spheres, carbon particles or carbon flakes.

Description

Unite States atent [19] Cohen et al.

[ Dec. 9, 1975 SOLID PROPELLANTS WITH STABILITY ENHANCED ADDITIVES OF PARTICULATE REFRACTORY CARBIDES OR OXIDES [75] Inventors: Joseph Cohen; Gilbert A.

Zimmerman, both of Sacramento,

Calif.

[73] Assignee: Aerojet-General Corporation, El

Monte, Calif.

[22] Filed: June 7, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 360,867

[52] US. Cl. 60/219; 149/2; 149/19.1; 149/20; 149/21; 149/76; 149/199; 149/110 [51] Int. Cl. C06D 5/06 [58] Field of Search l49/19.9, 20, 44, 76, 21, 149/2, 19.1; 60/219 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3/1960 Fox 149/87 X 3,666,575 5/1972 Fisher 149/19.2 3,734,786 5/1973 Walden et al.......... l49/l9.9 X 3,822,154 7/1974 Lawrence et al. 149/20 X Primary ExaminerBenjamin R. Padgett Assistant Examiner-E. A. Miller Attorney, Agent, or FirmEdward O. Ansell; Marvin E. Jacobs [57] ABSTRACT Ammonium perchlorate propellants utilizing a polybutadiene binder provide a smokeless exhaust and burn stably in a motor at a burning rate above 0.40 in/sec at 1,000 psia with no combustion instability if they include 0.255% of refractory metal carbides or oxides and carbon in the form of hollow, broken or unbroken carbon spheres, carbon particles or carbon flakes.

14 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures atsnt Dec. 9 1975 3,924,405

i \D a 5 I000 3 J3 \D LL] M a O 5 lo \5 2o T\ME., sEcoNDs o 24 6810l2l4k6l820 Tnvui, SECONDS;

SOLID PROPELLANTS WITH STABILITY ENHANCED ADDITIVES OF PARTICULATE REFRACTORY CARBIDES OR OXIDES BACKGROUND or THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention vThe present invention relates to stable burning, smokeless propellantsand more particularly to high en ergy, ammonium perchlorate propellants based on a polybutadienebinder.

'2. Description of the Prior A c a The absence of a visible exhaust from a solid rocket motor is a highly desirable attribute, particularly for military applications. Such' performance is possible by eliminating from the propellant formulationany material which will form a solid particulate on combustion (primary smoke). Double-base (nitrocellulose-nitroglycerin) compositions have been the principal propellants used for smokeless applications. Although more desirable because of higher performance,.the composite propellants based on ammonium perchlorate in an organic binder have used materials whic'hjform solid particulates, principally aluminum, to eliminate 'combustion instability and maximize specific impulse. Eliminating aluminum from the composite system eliminates primary smoke but brings in the problem of combustion instability when the'propellants areforrnulated with high oxidizer content for high specific impulse.

Recent work has shown that smokeless ammonium perchlorate (AP) propellants using 'a hydroxy-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) binder will yield a smokeless exhaust (primary smoke) and burn stably in a motor if the burning'rate is about 0.40 in/sec or lower at 1,000 psia. At burning rates above this level, com-' Smoke is defined in terms of solid-propellant exhaust as including all visible signature effects with the exception of flash or luminosity effects. Smoke is more strictly considered to be of two general categories: either primary, wherein solid particles-in the propellant exhaust affect its light transmissivity independently of the environment, or secondary (induced), wherein some of the gaseous components in'the exhaust such as HCl, HF, NO, or condensible water vapor interact with the ambientair to produce visible aerosols of liquid or solid particles. Sources of primary smoke from the propellant include unburned carbon and metal oxides.

The selection of anyprop'ellant involves the determination of performance factors, safety factors, life factors and cost factors. Performance factors to be considered include specific impulse, density and thermal expansion characteristics, mechanical properties, burning rate, combustion stability, sensitivity of chamber pressure to grain temperature and propellant erosivity. Safety factors include sensitivity to impact,"friction, dropping, fire and spark. Also to be considered under safety are thermal stability or auto ignition temperature, processing hazards, toxicity and exhaust product toxicity. Life factors include polymer degradation, moisture sensitivity, plasticizer migration and catastrophic phenomena connected with grain cracking and bond failure. Previously, smokelessness resulted in definite penaltiesin one or more of these factors or determinants of the factors. f

Combustion instability is a complex phenomena involving the combination of the inner motor configura- 5 one or more frequencies, the acoustic energy added to the system by the propellant exceeds that which is dissipated by frictional damping or carried from the chamber convectively. Because the phenomena does involve the interrelation of motor configuration and propellant properties and because these interactions are not completely understood, it is not always possible to specify propellant'or chamber design procedures which will guarantee stable bumingl Presently the primary problem in the use of smokeless propellants is combustion instability. For many years the use of highipercentages of aluminum in solid propellants almost completely inhibited combustion instability. The removal of aluminum to make .the primary exhaust smokeless causes the propellant to exhibit unacceptable tendencies toward unstable com- .bustion.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY 'OF INVENTION It istherefore an object of the invention to. provide a smokeless propellant in which combustion instability is substantially suppressed.

A further object. of the invention is to provide a propellant substantially free of primary smoke in the exhaust and exhibiting a high specific impulse and burning rate without exhibiting any combustion instability.

Yet another object is the provision of an ammonium perchlorate loaded propellant that is absent aluminum and whichmaintains combustion stability at a burning rate greater than 0.40 in/sec at a pressure of about 1,000 psia.

lnaccordance with the invention it hasbeen discovered that the addition of small amounts of additives selected from refractory metal carbides or oxideswill provide a stableburning smokeless propellant for some chamber-propellant interactive resonant frequencies and at a burning rate above 0.40 in/sec. When a small amount of carbon in the form of hollow, thin walled spheres, whole or broken, or flakes, is also added the regime of resonance frequencies for stable combustion following detaileddescription when'considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRlPTlON OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a graph showing the firing curve .for a'dual thrust motor in which theboosterpropellant grain of the bipropellant configuration contains additives according to the invention; and

FIG. 2 is a graph showing the firing curve for a propellant grain without additives in the booster grain.

DESCRIPTION OF- THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The propellant composition usually contains a high proportion of combustible solids, typically in excess of by weight, a small proportion of binder, usually below 15% by weight, and a small amount below 3% by nate,

weight of burning rate accelerator. The combustible solids usually comprise an oxidizer such as ammonium perchlorate, HMX or RDX and 0.2% by weight of the combustion stabilizing solid added in accordance with the invention.

Preferred binders are elastomeric hydrocarbon polymers formed by the chain extension and cross-linking reactions of functionally terminated liquid polybutadiene polymers. Such polymers may include carboxy-terminated polybutadiene cured with amines or epoxides, polybutadiene acrylonitrile-acrylic terpolymers cured with epoxides and hydroxy-terminated polybutadiene cured with diisocyanates. Hydroxy-terminated polybutadienes are preferred due to cost, reactivity, availability'considerations and mechanical properties. The butadiene may be derived from the lithium initiated polymerization (Li-l-lTPB) or free radical initiated polymerization (FR-HTPB).

The composition may also contain a minor amount below of various additives such as cure promoters, stabilizers and thixotropic control agents, or reactive polymeric modifiers such as one or more diols or polyols. The isocyanate is generally presentin at least an equivalent amount sufficient to react with the hydroxy prepolymer and hydroxyl substituted modifiers.

The equivalent weight of the liquid prepolymer is at least 1,000 and not usually more than 5,000. The functionality of the polymer is advantageously from about L7 to about 3.0, preferably from about 1.9 to 2.3 to form by cross-linking and chain extending elastomeric polymers of molecular weight of at least 30,000. Since higher molecular weight prepolymers may require heat to reduce viscosity, the molecular weight is preferably from 1,000 to 4,000.

The polyisocyanate for curing the prepolymer can be selected from those of the general formula (R(NCO),,, in which R is a dior polyvalent organic radical containing from 2-30 carbon atoms and m is 2, 3 or 4. R can be alkylene, arylene, aralkylene or cycloalkylene. It is preferred that the organic radical be essentially hydrocarbon in character although the presence of unreactive groups containing elements other than carbon and hydrogen is permissible as is the presence of reactive groups which are not capable of reacting with isocyanate groups capable of forming urea or carbamate linkages such as to interfere with the desired reaction.

Examples of suitable compounds of this type include benzene-l ,3-diisocyanate, hexane-l ,6-diisocyanate, toluene-2,4-diisocyanate (TDl), toluene-2,3-diisocyanate, diphenyl-methane-4,4'-diisocyanate, naphthylene-l ,S-diisocyanate, diphenyl-3 ,3 '-dimethyi-4,4 diisocyanate, diphenyl-3 ,3 '-dimethoxy-4,4 '-diisocyabutane-1,4-diisocyanate, cyclohex-4-ene-1 ,2- diisocyanate, benzene-1,3,4-triisocyanate, naphthylene-l ,3 ,5,7-tetraisocyanate, metaphenylene diisocyanate (MDl), isocyanate terminated prepolymers, polyaryl polyisocyanates and the like.

Polyols are preferably, but not limited to, diols or triols and can be either saturated or unsaturated aliphatic, aromatic or certain polyester or polyether products. Exemplary compounds include glycerol, ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, neopentylglycol, pentaerythritol, trimethylolethane, glycerol triricineolate, or alkylene oxide adducts of aniline such as lsonol which is N,N- bis-(Z-hydroxypropyl) aniline and many other polyols well known in the art which can be incorporated into the binder composition to control the degree of crosslinking. The particular compound and amount utilized is dependent on the functionality and nature of the hydroxyl terminated prepolymer and polyisocyanateemployed in the binder composition.

Since the functionality of .Li-HTPB is generally slightly less than 2, the polyol is preferably a trio] so as to provide cross-linking between polymeric chains upon reaction with isocyanates. As exemplary polyols, mention may be made of glycerol triricinoleate (GTRO) and lsonol (a propyleneoxide adduct of aniline), N,N-bis-(Z-hydroxypropyl)-aniline. The polyisocyanate is present in an amount necessary to satisfy stoichiometry, that is, the functionality of the HTPB and any other polyol present in the composition. The polyisocyanate may be a di-, trior higher functional material and may be aliphatic in nature such as hexanediisocyanate but is preferably an aromatic polyisocyanate such as TDl. A catalytic cure promoting agent can be utilized. These agents may be metal salts such as metal acetylacetonates, preferably thorium acetylacetonate (ThAA) or iron acetylacetonate (FeAA).

The combustion stability promoting additives in acc'ordance with the invention may be used alone but are preferably used in combination at concentrations as low as 0.2% as single ingredients or combined. While no upper limit is theoretically non-functional, however, with respect to degradation of performance and optimum exhaust smoke characteristics, the concentration of the solid additives should not exceed about 3% by weight of the propellant composition. The refractory metal carbide or oxide should have a melting point of at least about 2,000C.

Suitable high melting materials are the carbides and oxides of metals including thorium, tungsten, silicon, molybdenum, aluminum, hafnium, vanadium. The refractory compound should be provided in the form of fine particles ranging between 2 to 10 microns. The use of carbon in refractory metal compounds such as zirconium carbide will have a minimal affect onv smokeless performance. Carbon will, of course, burn completely to CO and CO, while zirconium carbide at a level of 0.5% will produce about 0.7g of solid ZrO, per g of propellant burned. Smoke measurements made on firings of a propellant formulated with additive and one formulated without showed that the light transmission through the exhaust plume to be the same for both propellants, demonstrating that the ZrC had no measurable effect on the amount of primarysmoke produced.

it is believed that both the carbon and ZrC function through a particulate damping mechanism. Further, the carbon and ZrC represent two different classes of material. One functions as a particulate damper close to the burning surface. Carbon is completely consumed in the combustion process and cannot act to provide particulate damping the entire time the gas is present in the motor. The other, ZrC, is a particulate which is present in the gas phase either as ZrC or ZrO most probably as ZrC. I

The carbon additive when utilized in combination with the refractory oxide or carbide can have diverse physical form and size. However, when the carbon is utilized alone as a combustion stabilizer, it should preferably have a thickness between i and about 10 mierons and a length of between about 25 to 400 microns. A preferred form of carbon is small particles such as platelets or spheres or carbon powder such as Thumax (0.3 ,W hen in the form of flakes or platelets, the preferred sizes are 10 to a X i to 8 p. thick.

Table 1 Property A-100 A-200 App. mean diameter, microns 110 200 Diameter range, microns 75-150 150-250 Wall thickness, microns 2-3 3-8 Bulk Density, g/cc 0.10-0.25 0.07-0.20 Particle density, g/cc 0.l50.40 0.15-0.35

Theoretically, the burning rate of a propellant is dependent only on the chamber pressure. Actually it is also dependent on the velocity of gas flow over the burning surface. The higher the gas velocity across the point on a grain, the higher the burning rate at that 6 pears that erosive and unstable burning are related phenomena.

Combustion instability of the candidate smokeless propellants in accordance with the invention was studied in a T burner which is a standard device for experimental measuring of combustion instability. The T burner device uses opposing cylindrical grains and is usually operated at pressures of 500 and 1,000 psi. The chamber length was varied to provide fundamental acoustic frequencies near 3,000 and 4,000 Hz. The tests were utilized to determine the following parameters:

01,, growth constant for acoustic pressure AP amplitude of acoustic pressure oscillations R, response function, ratio of burning rate change to pressure change Cylindrical grains were formulated with 12 parts of an hydroxy-terminated polybutadiene binder system containing a stoichiometric amount of TDI and an appropriate amount of ammonium perchlorate and different additives. The composition was formed into cylindrical grains suitable for the T burner test and the results of the testare provided in the following table.

Table 2 Frequencies 2000 Hz 3000 Hz 4000 Hz Example AP Additive r in./sec.

No. Wt%Type Wt% at 1000 psia a, AP R,, a, AP R, a, AP R 1 88 None 0 .42 115 1.33 12 18 .15 Stable 2 88 None 0 .58 70 75 1.73 63 105 1.02 Stable .16 3 88 Aluminum 0.5 .55 47 60 .55 Stable 13 4 88 A1 0 1.0 .64 60 60 1.19 34 60 .66 30 7 .39 5 88 Broken Carbon 1.0 .64 52 65 1.06 1 .145 Stable .14

Spheres 6 87 P-33 Carbon 1.0 .51 54 160 1.52 28.5 50 .7 Stable 2 7 87 (Broken Carbon 0.5) .49 36 60 1.15 .21 Stable .18

(Spheres (ZrC 0.5) 8 88 ZrC .5 .57 53 70 1.35 =0 .24 Stable .14

point. Some propellants are more susceptible to erosive burning than others. In general, erosive burning is more prevalent in lower burning rate propellants than in those with high burning rates.

Unstable burning is a phenomena common to all propellant systems yet not to all propellants within a system. Furthermore, additives which in one system may control combustion instability may have no affect or an adverse affect in another propellant or binder system. It appears that unstable burning is more common with higher energy propellants than with lower energy propellants. Tests have indicated that unstable burning is a result of the production of transverse or longitudinal acoustical oscillations of the combustion gases during burning. These oscillations result in areas of high and low velocity around or along the grain which have a marked effect on the local burning rate. At a high velocity area caused by oscillation of the gas, the burning rate rises rapidly, causing a further increase in pressure. At a low velocity or nodal point, the burning rate is very low. It may be seen that the non-uniform burning of the grain can cause premature break-up even if the average chamber pressure does not exceed the maximum chamber design pressure. Extremely uncontrolled performance and chamber failures are commonly associated with aggravated, uncontrolled resonance or unstable burning, although in some rockets it can be detected only by high frequency instrumentation. 1t ap- The higher burning rate propellant without additives, Example No. 2, is more unstable at 3,000 Hz, i.e., higher a, AP and R The propellants containing broken carbon spheres (Example 5) or zirconium carbide (Example 8) or these additives in combination (Example 7) eliminate the instability at 3,000 Hz and above with some-benefit obtained at 2,000 Hz, particularly in the reduced response function (R,,). Formulation No. 6 including a standard amorphous, rubber grade of carbon black, P-33, shows some reduction of the instability at 3,000 l-izv but is not as effective as the carbon in the form of broken, hollow spheres (Example 5).

This decrease in combustion instability shown in T burners has been verified in motor firings of a dual thrust configuration where a booster grain composed of 88% ammonium perchlorate (AP) in an HTPB binder with 0.5% of the zirconium carbide (ZrC) was used. Although some instability was observed as shown by the DC shift, this shift was only 10% of that shown by the propellant without additive. Further, the onset of the shift was delayed until the end of the boost phase.

A second motor was fired using the combination of 0.5% ZrC and 0.5% partially broken carbon spheres, formulation No. 8 above, in the booster propellant. The results were even better with the second motor. The DC shift was eliminated entirely, leaving a residual pressure coupled maximum amplitude of only 10 psi at the operating pressure of 1,200 psi. This minor instability is well within acceptable operation limits for solid rocket motors. The firing curve for this dual thrust motor is shown in FIG. 1, where formulation No. 8 was used for the boost phase of the operation. FIG. 2 typifies the performance of the composition without additives showing the large pressure spikes resulting from combustion instability. Further T burner date were obtained on the effect 1% ZrC (no carbon) on stability of the same propellant used for evaluating the 0.5% mixture with carbon and also on the effect of using a lower percentage of ammonium perchlorate as a lower burning rate propellant. The results are shown in the following table.

8 2000 and 3000 Hz although they stabilized at a frequency of 4000 Hz. It is evident that at higher burning rate, i.e. batch No. 18, instability is increased at 3000 Hz.

The effect of various forms of carbon is seen in batches 14, 29, 13 and 15. Neither P-33 (Example 14) norcarbon fibers (Example gave an improvement in stability at 87% AP. Carbon spheres A-l00 (Example 13) gave improved stability at 87% AP and 3000 Hz. At 88% AP, carbon spheres gave improved stability at both 3000 or 4000 Hz.

Zirconium carbide (Example No. 16) gave signifi- The data given in the above table shows that 1% ZrC (Example No. 9) is equivalent in performance to the propellant containing the mixture of additives (Example No. 7). The use of some carbon is considered significantly superior since it does not create any particulate smoke. The firings of the propellants of Examples No. 10 and l l were both stable until the ratio of S /S was 1 or less and then the firing became unstable. S indicates the area of the propellant burning and S is the cross-sectional area of the chamber. The lower burning rate propellant containing a lower amount of ammonium perchlorate as shown in Example No. 12 shows that with this composition stability is improved, being stable at 2200 and 2600 Hz. Further T burner data is shown in the following table.

cantly improved stability at 3000 and 4000 Hz. Additional testing of carbon spheres, 1%, and ZrC, 0.5%, as single additives in the T burner and also in motors (Examples 19, 20 and 21) showed these compositions to be unstable in the T burner at 2500 Hz. Motor firings of Example 21 also showed these compositions were unstable when the propellant web burned out to a diameter corresponding to a frequency of 4000 at 5000 Hz.

In combination the ZrC and carbon spheres (Examples 25, 19, 26, 23 and 24) gave stable combustion in the T burner at 2500 Hz and were also stable in 9-inch O.D. grains, when fired in motors having a frequency at burnout of 2700 Hz. The effect of the combination produces an improvement in stability over that shown by the single ingredients when used alone.

TABLE 4 a 500 psia 900 psia Ex. AP 1000 2000 Hz 3000 Hz 4000 Hz 2500 Hz No Wt% Additive Wt% psia a, AP R, a, AP R,, a, AP R, a, AP R,,

13 87 C Spheres l 0.56 32 7 .l3 38 5-10 .475 14 87 P-33 1 0.51 54 150 1.52 28.5 .7 Stable 2 15 87 Carbon Fibers 1 0.49 47 130 1.38 41 .8 Stable .18 16 88 ZrC 0.5 0.56 53 1.35 O .24 Stable .14 17 88 0.42 40 115 1.33 12 18 .15 Stable 18 88 0.58 70 1.73 63 1.02 Stable .16 19 87 C Spheres 1 0.53 200 450 1 20 88 C Spheres l 0.41 200 450 l 21 88 ZrC 0.5 0.56 200 500 1.1 22 88 C Spheres/ZrC 0.5/0.5 0.41 Stable 23 88 C Spheres/ZrC 0.5/0.5 0.41 Stable 24 87 C Spheres/ZrC 0.5/0.5 0.58 Stable 25 87 C Spheres/ZrC 0.5/0.5 0.49 Stable 26 87 C Spheres/ZrC 0.5/0.5 0.54 Stable 27 87 Thcrmay/ZrC 0.5/0.5 0.61 Stable 28 87 P-33/ZrC 0.5/0.5 0.59 Stable 29 87 C Spheres 1 0.67 52 65 1.06 4 .145 Stable .13 30 87 C Spheres/ZrC 0.5/0.5 0.54 Stable 31 87 C Spheres/ZrC 0.5/0.5 0.55 Stable 32 87 Thermay/ZrC 0.5/0.5 0.61 600 33 87 P-33/Zrc 0.5/0.5 0.59 153 600 34 87 C Spheres/ZrC 0.5/0.5 0.54 171 500 35 87 C Spheres/ZrC 0.5/0.5 0.55 163 500 100% broken spheres 100% unbroken spheres 2600 Hz The control propellant batches l7 and 18 show that without additives all AP propellants are unstable at A further evaluation of the effect of carbon and ZrC was tested in Example Nos. 27, 28 and 29 which in motor firings evidently because at an S /S ratio of l the grains are burning as flat slabs and have no contribution from side wall burning as is the case in a typical lD burning grain configuration.- The results show that stability above 2500 Hz is primarily due to the combi- Example N0. 36 (89% AP, r 0.41 in/sec at 1000 psia) containing no additive was unstable both in the T burner at 2500 Hz and in the motor at even a higher frequency of -4000 Hz.

Example No". 37 (88% AP, 0.5% Fe O r= 0.59 in/- sec at 1000 psia) again was unstable at a higher frequency'in the motor indicating the effect of higher burning rateon the instability.

Example No. 38 (87% SP, r 0.49 in/sec at 1000 psia) contained 100p, carbon spheres and 5p. ZrC and was: found tobe stable both in the T burner and in the motor'firing down to 4800 HZ, illustrating the effect of the combination of additives. I I Example No. 39 (87% AP, r 0.54 in/sec at 1000 nation, carbon plus'ZrC, and is not'dependent on the psia) contained 200p. carbon spheres and 5p. ZrC and form of carbon. was found to be stable in the T burner illustrating that The experiments summarized in Table 5 show the 200p. carbon spheres are as effective as the 100p.

comparison of T burner results at 900 and 2500 psia spheres.

with full scale motor tests conducted at 900-1500 psia Example No. 40 (88% AP, r 0.56 in/sec at 1000 and 70F. The binder in each example was a plasticized psia) contained only 0.5% ZrC and was found to be un- HTPB. stablein the T'burner and at -5000 Hz in the motor il- Table 5 Full Scale vs T Burner Test Data on Smokeless Composite Propellants Burning T Burner Tests Example AP Additive Rate 2500 Hz & 900 psia Full Scale Motor Tests No. Wt.% Type I Wt.% Size, p. in/lb a, AP R, Type Gr. O.D. Results 36 89 None .41 =200 900 1] 7.75 Unstable at 6" Dia. 37 88 Fe,0 .5 1 .59 160 550 1.1 [l] 5.00 Unstable at 4 7 Dia. 38 87 C/ZrC .5/.5 200/5 .49 Stable .07 [1 5.00 Stable 39 87 C/ZrC .5I.5" 200/5 .54 Stable. Not Tested 40 88 ZrC .5 5 -56 =200 ===S00 1.l [l] 5.00 Unstable at 4.8"

' Dia. 41 87 C Spheres l 200 .53 =200 450 1 Not Tested 42 88 C-Spheres l 200 .41 ==200 =450 1 [2] 9.90 Unstable at 6" Dia. 43 88 C/ZrC .5/.5 200/5 .41 Stable [2] 9.00 %table at 5" v ia." 44 88 C/Zrc .5/.5 200/5 .41 Stable (2600 [2] 9.00 Stable a 9" H 150 300 (1200 Hz) 45 87 C/ZrC .5/.5 200/5 .67 =23Q 300 I Not Tested 46 87 C/ZrC .5/.5 200/5 .64 ==l87 900 Not Tested 47 87 C/ZrC .5/.5 200/5 .58 Stable (2600 [2] 9.00 Stable Solid Strand at 1000 psia "Lost Nozzle insert [1] 100 lbs. of propellant Grain Design-A [2] 100 lbs. of propellant Grain Design 8 The correlation between motor diameter and motor resonant frequency is shown in the following table:

' Motor Resonant Frequency, cps

Motor Diameter,

. D, inch oooqoco lustrating the need for the carbonspheres for stability.

Example No.41 (87% AP, r.= 0.53 in/sec at 1000 psia) contained 1% of 200g. carbon spheres and was found to be unstable in the T burner illustrating the need for the ZrC in combination.

Example No.42 (88% AP, r 0.41 in/secat 1000 psia) contained 1% of 200p. carbon spheres and was found to be unstable in the T burner and in the motor at -4,000 l-lz illustrating again the need for the combination to achieve stability.

The remaining batches illustrate the effect of the combination of carbon spheres and ZrC. Both the T burnerand motor results show the effectiveness of the combination of additivesiin achieving stability over the range of burning rates from -0.40 to -0.60 in/sec at 1000 psia at frequencies as low as 2500 Hz and an oxidizer level from 87 to 88%. At the burning rates above 0.60 in/sec at 1,000 psia instability at 2500 Hz was evident in the T burner. Stability in motors was maintained over the temperature range of 40 to +l35F as l. an oxide or carbide having a melting point of at shown by the motor fired from Example No. 47.

Thus it is apparent that solid additives such as a resisting of thorium, tungsten, silicon, molybdenum, fractory metal carbide alone, irregular thin carbon paralurninum, hafnium, zirconium and vanadium oxticles such as broken carbon spheres or the combina- 5 ides and carbides; and tron of refractory metal compound with diverse forms 2. particulate carbon. of carbon are capable of providing stable burning, high 2. A composition according to claim 1 in which the energy, smokeless propellants without significant loss binder is an elastomeric hydrocarbon polymer present of specific impulse even though aluminum has been in an amount of no more than by weight and the eliminated from the fuel. additive ispresent in an amount from 0.1 to 4% by A further series of T burner data for propellants conweight. taining other refractory compounds such as 0.5 weight 3. A composition according to claim .2 in which the percent of hafnium oxide, niobium carbide or tantalum binder is a chain extended and cured liquid polybutadicarbide in combination with 0.5 weight percent of 200 ene polymer having an equivalent weight between micron diameter carbon spheres and 87% ammonium 15 1,000 and 5,000 and a functionality between L7 and perchlorate (AP) is presented in the following table. 3.0.

' Table 7 Motor Resulting Example Burn Rate Pressure, Resonance Resonance,

No. Additive in/sec psig design f, Hz f, Hz a, sec AP, psig 48 mo, .57 1084 2600 0 Stable 0 49 HfO, .58 1072 2200 2300 +160 765 50 NbC .59 1088 2600 0 Stable 0 51 NbC .53 1066 2200 0 Stable 0 52 TaC .53 1044 2600 0 Stable 0 53 TaC .54 1100 2200 2250 +147 670 Example 54 composition according to claim 3 in which-the OXlCllZlng salt is ammonium perchlorate present in an A Propellant was compounded as followsl v amount of between 85% and 90% by weight.

5. A composition according to claim 4 in which the additive comprises 0.2 to 1% by weight high melting carbide having a particle size ranging between 2 to 10 Ingredient Wt.%

Carbon Spheres (unbroken) 0.5 microns, gf m'g rg g 3:2 6. composition according to claim 5 in which the Binder of Example 1 11.5 carbide is zirconium carbide.

7. A composition according to claim 5 in which the carbide is hafnium carbide.

Forty-two pounds of the propellant was tired in a full 8. A composition according to claim 4 in which the scale motor. The motor developed 4,000 to 8,000 additive comprises a mixture of high melting carbide pounds of thrust and was found to be absent frequenand particulate carbon.

cies above 5,000 Hz. 9. A composition according to claim 8 in which the Propellant compositions absent the additives of the particulate carbon is selected from hollow, thin-walled invention do not burn stably unless the ammonium percarbon spheres and carbon flakes.

chlorate level is below 80% by weight. This lowers both 10. A composition according to claim 9 in which said the impulse and density of the propellant. The propeladditive further includes carbon powder. lant composition of the invention containing the stabi- 1 1. A composition according to claim 9 in which the lizing smokeless additives permits formulation with particulate carbon is in the form of hollow carbon over 85% ammonium perchlorate to form a high denspheres having a diameter between 100 and 200 misity solid propellant which burns stably with high specrons and a wall thickness from 2 m 8 microns. cific. impulse and without visible smoke. 12. A method for producing thrust in the absence. of

it is to be realized that only specific embodiments of visible smoke comprising the steps of:

the invention have been described and that numerous burning a solid propellant composition defined acsubstitutions, alterations and modifications are all percording to claim 1 at a burning rate above about missible without departing from the scope of the inven- 0.4 in/sec without combustion instability at pressures of at least 1000 psia so as to produce nontion as defined in the following claims.

smoking combustion gases; and

What is claimed is:

1. A stable burning, solid propellant composition abexhausting said gases through an orifice to produce sent visible smoke on burning comprising a cured, intithrust. mate mixture of: 8 ,13. A composition according to claim 2 in which the a major amount of solid inorganic oxidizing salt; butadiene polymer is selected from a carbo'xy-tera minor amount of a combustible synthetic, organic minated polybutadiene cured with an amine or an epelastomeric hydrocarbon resin formed by the chain oxide, a butadiene-acrylonitrile-acrylic terpolymer extension and cross-linking of functionally-tercured with an epoxideand hydroxy-terminated polybuminated, liquid butadiene, polymers; and tadiene cured with a diisocyanate. 0.2 to 5% by weight of the composition of a stability 14. A-composition according to claim 11 in which the enhancing additive consisting essentially of the hollow carbon spheres are unbroken. combination of: a

i 0 i i i least about 2000C selected from the group con--

Claims (16)

1. A STABLE BURNING, SOLID PROPELLANT COMPOSITION ABSENT VISIBLE SMOKE ON BURNING COMPRISING A CURED, INTIMATE MIXTURE OF: A MAJOR AMOUNT OF SOLID INORGANIC OXIDIZING SALT; A MINOR AMOUNT OF A COMBUSTIBLE SYNTHETIC, ORGANIC ELASTOMERIC HYDROCARBON RESIN FORMED BY THE CHAIN EXTENSION AND CROSS-LINKING OF FUNCTIONALLY-TERMINATED, LIQUID BUTADIENE POLYMERS; AND 0.2 TO 5% BY WEIGHT OF THE COMPOSITION OF A STABILITY ENHANCING ADDITIVE CONSISTING ESSENTIALLY OF THE COMBINATION OF: I. AN OXIDE OR CARBIDE HAVING A MELTING POINT OF AT LEAST ABOUT 2000*C SELECTED FROM THE GROUP CONSISTING OF THORIUM, TUNGSTE, SILICON, MOLYBDENUM, ALUMINUM, HAFNIUM, ZIRCONIUM AND VANADIUM OXIDES AND CARBIDES; AND
2. PARTICULATE CARBON.
2. particulate carbon.
2. A composition according to claim 1 in which the binder is an elastomeric hydrocarbon polymer present in an amount of no more than 15% by weight and the additive is present in an amount from 0.1 to 4% by weight.
3. A composition according to claim 2 in which the binder is a chain extended and cured liquid polybutadiene polymer having an equivalent weight between 1,000 and 5,000 and a functionality between 1.7 and 3.0.
4. A composition according to claim 3 in which the oxidizing salt is ammonium perchlorate present in an amount of between 85% and 90% by weight.
5. A composition according to claim 4 in which the additive comprises 0.2 to 1% by weight high melting carbide having a particle size ranging between 2 to 10 microns.
6. A composition according to claim 5 in which the carbide is zirconium carbide.
7. A composition according to claim 5 in which the carbide is hafnium carbide.
8. A composition according to claim 4 in which the additive comprises a mixture of high melting carbide and particulate carbon.
9. A composition according to claim 8 in which the particulate carbon is selected from hollow, thin-walled carbon spheres and carbon flakes.
10. A composition according to claim 9 in which said additive further includes carbon powder.
11. A composition according to claim 9 in which the particulate carbon is in the form of hollow carbon spheres having a diameter between 100 and 200 microns and a wall thickness from 2 to 8 microns.
12. A METHOD FOR PRODUCING THRUST IN THE ABSENCE OF VISIBLE SMOKE COMPRISING THE STEPS OF: BURNING A SOLID PROPELLANT COMPOSITION DEFINED ACCORDING TO CLAIM 1 AT A BURNING RATE ABOVE ABOUT 0.4 IN/SEC WITHOUT COMBUSTION INSTABILITY AT PRESSURES OF AT LEAST 1000 PSIA SO AS TO PRODUCE NON-SMOKONG COMBUSTION GASES; AND ESHAUSTING SAID GASES THROUGH AN ORIFICE TO PRODUCE THRUST.
13. A composition according to claim 2 in which the butadiene polymer is selected from a carboxy-terminated polybutadiene cured with an amine or an epoxide, a butadiene-acrylonitrile-acrylic terpolymer cured with an epoxide and hydroxy-terminated polybutadiene cured with a diisocyanate.
14. A composition according to claim 11 in which the hollow carbon spheres are unbroken.
US360867A 1973-06-07 1973-06-07 Solid propellants with stability enhanced additives of particulate refractory carbides or oxides Expired - Lifetime US3924405A (en)

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US360867A US3924405A (en) 1973-06-07 1973-06-07 Solid propellants with stability enhanced additives of particulate refractory carbides or oxides
NO742028A NO139916C (en) 1973-06-07 1974-06-05 Roekfritt, stable burning propellant
IL44980A IL44980D0 (en) 1973-06-07 1974-06-06 Smokeless,stable-burning propellant compositions
CA201,806A CA1039062A (en) 1973-06-07 1974-06-06 Smokeless stable burning propellant
SE7407489A SE404359B (en) 1973-06-07 1974-06-06 Stable deflagrating, smoke, solid propellant composition
BE145189A BE816054A (en) 1973-06-07 1974-06-07 Propellants has stable combustion and smokeless
DE2427480A DE2427480C3 (en) 1973-06-07 1974-06-07
GB2532274A GB1465804A (en) 1973-06-07 1974-06-07 Stable burning smokeless solid propellant composition
FR7419738A FR2232523B1 (en) 1973-06-07 1974-06-07
TR18072A TR18072A (en) 1973-06-07 1974-06-07 Stable burning smokeless propellant
JP49064171A JPS5214285B2 (en) 1973-06-07 1974-06-07

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DE2718013A1 (en) * 1976-04-22 1977-11-17 Thiokol Corp fuel-resistant and its manufacture
US4060434A (en) * 1975-06-11 1977-11-29 Bryant And May Match-head compositions
US4061511A (en) * 1976-08-02 1977-12-06 The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Navy Aluminum silicate stabilizer in gas producing propellants
US4158583A (en) * 1977-12-16 1979-06-19 Nasa High performance ammonium nitrate propellant
US4536235A (en) * 1982-12-28 1985-08-20 Societe Nationale Des Poudres Et Explosifs Combustion inhibitors on a base of oxygenated polyurethane elastomer which contains fibers for the double base propellant
US4574700A (en) * 1984-11-15 1986-03-11 The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Air Force Solid rocket motor with nozzle containing aromatic amide fibers
US4638735A (en) * 1984-05-17 1987-01-27 Societe Nationale Des Poudres Et Explosifs Combustion inhibitor based on an aliphatic polyurethane elastomer for a propellant, and block coated with this inhibitor
US5074938A (en) * 1990-05-25 1991-12-24 Thiokol Corporation Low pressure exponent propellants containing boron
US5339625A (en) * 1992-12-04 1994-08-23 American Rocket Company Hybrid rocket motor solid fuel grain
US5438824A (en) * 1994-03-21 1995-08-08 The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Army Silicon as a high energy additive for fuel gels and solid fuel-gas generators for propulsion systems
US5445690A (en) * 1993-03-29 1995-08-29 D. S. Wulfman & Associates, Inc. Environmentally neutral reformulation of military explosives and propellants
US5470408A (en) * 1993-10-22 1995-11-28 Thiokol Corporation Use of carbon fibrils to enhance burn rate of pyrotechnics and gas generants
US5547525A (en) * 1993-09-29 1996-08-20 Thiokol Corporation Electrostatic discharge reduction in energetic compositions
US5579634A (en) * 1992-01-29 1996-12-03 Thiokol Corporation Use of controlled burn rate, reduced smoke, biplateau solid propellant formulations
US5589661A (en) * 1994-10-05 1996-12-31 Fraunhofer-Gesselschaft Zur Forderung Der Angewandten Forschung E.V. Solid propellant based on phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate
US5596168A (en) * 1994-10-05 1997-01-21 Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Zur Forderung Der Angewandten Forschung E.V. Solid propellant based on phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate
US5834680A (en) * 1995-09-22 1998-11-10 Cordant Technologies Inc. Black body decoy flare compositions for thrusted applications and methods of use
US5867981A (en) * 1985-01-28 1999-02-09 The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Air Force Solid rocket motor
US6149745A (en) * 1994-12-27 2000-11-21 Daicel Chemical Industries, Ltd. Gas generant composition
US6168677B1 (en) * 1999-09-02 2001-01-02 The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Army Minimum signature isocyanate cured propellants containing bismuth compounds as ballistic modifiers
US6607617B1 (en) 2000-08-16 2003-08-19 Alliant Techsystems Inc. Double-base rocket propellants, and rocket assemblies comprising the same
US20140260185A1 (en) * 2013-03-15 2014-09-18 Alliant Techsystems Inc. Precursor formulations for an energetic composition including high surface area amorphous carbon black

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GB2159811A (en) * 1984-06-06 1985-12-11 Alan Richard Howard Bullock Composite propellant
DE3523953C2 (en) * 1985-07-04 1987-07-23 Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Zur Foerderung Der Angewandten Forschung Ev, 8000 Muenchen, De
JPS62263409A (en) * 1986-05-12 1987-11-16 Emupaiya Eapooto Service:Kk Encoder
JPS62276409A (en) * 1986-05-26 1987-12-01 Emupaiya Eapooto Service:Kk Rotary encoder
DE3704305C2 (en) * 1987-02-12 1988-11-17 Bayern-Chemie Gesellschaft Fuer Flugchemische Antriebe Mbh, 8261 Aschau, De
AU2196499A (en) * 1997-10-03 1999-04-27 Cordant Technologies, Inc. Advanced designs for high pressure, high performance solid propellant rocket motors
US6217682B1 (en) * 1997-10-27 2001-04-17 Cordant Technologies Inc. Energetic oxetane propellants

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US3666575A (en) * 1970-03-10 1972-05-30 Us Army Solid propellant composition with burning rate catalyst
US3734786A (en) * 1971-02-16 1973-05-22 United Aircraft Corp Solid propellants fabricated from a mixed polymer system

Cited By (23)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4060434A (en) * 1975-06-11 1977-11-29 Bryant And May Match-head compositions
US4084992A (en) * 1976-04-22 1978-04-18 Thiokol Corporation Solid propellant with alumina burning rate catalyst
DE2718013A1 (en) * 1976-04-22 1977-11-17 Thiokol Corp fuel-resistant and its manufacture
US4061511A (en) * 1976-08-02 1977-12-06 The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Navy Aluminum silicate stabilizer in gas producing propellants
US4158583A (en) * 1977-12-16 1979-06-19 Nasa High performance ammonium nitrate propellant
US4536235A (en) * 1982-12-28 1985-08-20 Societe Nationale Des Poudres Et Explosifs Combustion inhibitors on a base of oxygenated polyurethane elastomer which contains fibers for the double base propellant
US4638735A (en) * 1984-05-17 1987-01-27 Societe Nationale Des Poudres Et Explosifs Combustion inhibitor based on an aliphatic polyurethane elastomer for a propellant, and block coated with this inhibitor
US4574700A (en) * 1984-11-15 1986-03-11 The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Air Force Solid rocket motor with nozzle containing aromatic amide fibers
US5867981A (en) * 1985-01-28 1999-02-09 The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Air Force Solid rocket motor
US5074938A (en) * 1990-05-25 1991-12-24 Thiokol Corporation Low pressure exponent propellants containing boron
US5579634A (en) * 1992-01-29 1996-12-03 Thiokol Corporation Use of controlled burn rate, reduced smoke, biplateau solid propellant formulations
US5339625A (en) * 1992-12-04 1994-08-23 American Rocket Company Hybrid rocket motor solid fuel grain
US5445690A (en) * 1993-03-29 1995-08-29 D. S. Wulfman & Associates, Inc. Environmentally neutral reformulation of military explosives and propellants
US5547525A (en) * 1993-09-29 1996-08-20 Thiokol Corporation Electrostatic discharge reduction in energetic compositions
US5470408A (en) * 1993-10-22 1995-11-28 Thiokol Corporation Use of carbon fibrils to enhance burn rate of pyrotechnics and gas generants
US5438824A (en) * 1994-03-21 1995-08-08 The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Army Silicon as a high energy additive for fuel gels and solid fuel-gas generators for propulsion systems
US5589661A (en) * 1994-10-05 1996-12-31 Fraunhofer-Gesselschaft Zur Forderung Der Angewandten Forschung E.V. Solid propellant based on phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate
US5596168A (en) * 1994-10-05 1997-01-21 Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Zur Forderung Der Angewandten Forschung E.V. Solid propellant based on phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate
US6149745A (en) * 1994-12-27 2000-11-21 Daicel Chemical Industries, Ltd. Gas generant composition
US5834680A (en) * 1995-09-22 1998-11-10 Cordant Technologies Inc. Black body decoy flare compositions for thrusted applications and methods of use
US6168677B1 (en) * 1999-09-02 2001-01-02 The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Army Minimum signature isocyanate cured propellants containing bismuth compounds as ballistic modifiers
US6607617B1 (en) 2000-08-16 2003-08-19 Alliant Techsystems Inc. Double-base rocket propellants, and rocket assemblies comprising the same
US20140260185A1 (en) * 2013-03-15 2014-09-18 Alliant Techsystems Inc. Precursor formulations for an energetic composition including high surface area amorphous carbon black

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Publication number Publication date
JPS5031015A (en) 1975-03-27
JPS5214285B2 (en) 1977-04-20
IL44980D0 (en) 1974-09-10
SE404359B (en) 1978-10-02
TR18072A (en) 1976-09-21
DE2427480A1 (en) 1975-01-09
DE2427480B2 (en) 1979-04-26
DE2427480C3 (en) 1979-12-13
FR2232523A1 (en) 1975-01-03
GB1465804A (en) 1977-03-02
NO742028L (en) 1975-01-06
BE816054A1 (en)
NO139916C (en) 1979-06-06
NO139916B (en) 1979-02-26
CA1039062A (en) 1978-09-26
BE816054A (en) 1974-09-30
SE7407489L (en) 1974-12-09
FR2232523B1 (en) 1977-09-30
CA1039062A1 (en)

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