Modeling Solid Propellant Strand Burner Experiments with Catalytic Additives
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This dissertation studies how nanoadditives influence burning rates through the development and use of a model to conduct parametric studies on nanoadditive interaction and to formulate theories. Decades of research have yet to determine the specific mechanisms for additive influence and the theories remain diverse and fragmented. It has been theorized that additives catalyze the combustion and thermal decomposition of AP, influence the condensed phases, and enhance the pyrolysis and regression of the binder. The main focus of the thesis was to approximate the enhanced boratory using spray-dried, spray-dried/heat-treated, and premixed TiO2 nanoadditives with ammonium perchlorate (AP) / hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) composite propellants. The model is based on the classic Beckstead-Derr-Price (BDP) and Cohen-Strand models and contains a component that determines the pressure changes within the strand burner during a test. The model accurately predicts measured burning rates for baseline propellants without additives over a range of 500 - 3000 psi within 10%. The strand burner component of the model predicts the experimental pressure trace accurately. Further, the strand burner component determines an average burning rate over time and predicts a transient burning rate if provided a pressure trace. A parametric study with the model parameters determined that the nanoadditives appear to be increasing the AP condensed phase reaction rate. This conclusion was drawn because only changes in AP condensed-phase reaction rate would adequately and realistically replicate burning rate enhancements seen in laboratory experiments. Parametric studies with binder kinetics, binder regression rate, AP surface kinetics, and primary flame kinetics produced burning rate behavior that did not match that seen in experiments with the additives. The model was further used to develop a theory for how the nanoadditive affects the AP condensed phase, and a new parameter, (Omega)c, that influences the AP condensed phase reaction rate was created that replicates spray-dried, spray-dried/heat-treated, and premixed TiO2 nanoadditive experimental burning rates. Finally, the model was used to develop a first approximation of predicting anomalous burning rate trends such as a negative pressure dependence and extinguishment. A new term, Mc, that modifies the ratio of binder mass flux to oxidizer mass flux is used in tandem with (Omega)c to develop a negative burning rate trend that is close to the experimental result.
Frazier, Corey (2011). Modeling Solid Propellant Strand Burner Experiments with Catalytic Additives. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from