Comparison of Cation-Anion Oxidizer Pairings in Electrically Controllable Solid Propellants

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Virginia Tech

Electrically controllable solid propellants are an area of interest as a viable solution to the lack of throttle-ability in solid propellant rocket motors. Existing studies have focused on propellants compositions using hydroxyl-ammonium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, or lithium perchlorate as oxidizers. Additionally, the thermochemical and electrochemical reaction mechanisms have not yet been fully defined. The research in this thesis explores the nitrate and perchlorate oxidizer families to compare their cation-anion relationships. Using these oxidizers, pseudo electrically controllable solid propellant compositions were created with the addition of multi-wall carbon nanotubes to enhance ohmic heating capabilities. These additives were selected based on theory that with a non-complexing polymer, an oxidizer melt layer is required for ions to dissociate and electrically controlled ignition to occur. Using an applied voltage, ignition delay and current draw experiments were performed to expand on prior findings that ignition delay follows oxidizer melt temperature while mobility is associated with the size of the ionic radii. Additionally, neat oxidizer pellets were electrically decomposed to determine their linear regression rate. These results help to characterize the mechanism of reaction. This advances the knowledge of oxidizers in electrically controllable applications.

Rocket Propulsion, Ionic Salts, Electrically Controllable Solid Propellants