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Studies on Composite Solid Propellant with Trimodal Ammonium Perchlorate Containing an Ultrafine Fraction



Composite solid propellant is prepared using tri-modal Ammonium perchlorate (AP) containing coarse, fine and ultrafine fractions of AP with average particle size (APS) 340, 40 and 5 μm respectively, in various compositions and their rheological, mechanical and burn rate characteristics are evaluated. The optimum combination of AP coarse to fine to ultrafine weight fraction was obtained by testing of series of propellant samples by varying the AP fractions at fixed solid loading. The concentration of aluminium was maintained constant throughout the experiments for ballistics requirement. The propellant formulation prepared using AP with coarse to fine to ultrafine ratio of 67:24:9 has lowest viscosity for the propellant paste and highest tensile strength due to dense packing as supported by the literature. A minimum modulus value was also observed at 9 wt. % of ultrafine AP concentration indicates the maximum solids packing density at this ratio of AP fractions. The burn rate is evaluated at different pressures to obtain pressure exponent. Incorporation of ultrafine fraction of AP in propellant increased burn rate without adversely affecting the pressure exponent. Higher solid loading propellants are prepared by increased AP concentration from 67 to 71 wt. % using AP with coarse to fine to ultrafine ratio of 67:24:9. Higher solid content up to 89 wt. % was achieved and hence increased solid motor performance. The unloading viscosity showed a trend with increased AP content and the propellant couldn’t able to cast beyond 71 wt. % of AP. Mechanical properties were also studied and from the experiments noticed that % elongation decreased with increased AP content from 67 to 71 wt.%, whereas tensile strength and modulus increased. Burn rate increased with increased AP content and observed that pressure exponent also increased and it is high for the propellant containing with 71 wt.% of AP due to increased oxidiser to fuel ratio. Catalysed composite solid propellant is prepared by using burn rate modifiers Copper chromite and Iron oxide. Addition of Copper chromite and Iron oxide has enhanced the burn rate of tri-modal AP based composite solid propellant. The catalytic propensity of copper chromite is higher than that of iron oxide. The pressure exponent increased with the catalyst concentration and the values obtained are compatible for solid rocket motor applications.


Ammonium perchlorate, composite propellant, burn rate, copper chromite, iron oxide


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