Assessing the Mixedness of Composite Solid Rocket Propellants Using Fluorescent Particles Conference Paper uri icon


  • A new diagnostic technique was developed for assessing the effectiveness of mixing techniques of solid composite propellants utilizing nanoparticle additives. The diagnostic utilizes nano-sized quantum dots in suspension or micron-sized powders that are mixed into the propellant in place of the additives. Upon exposure to an ultraviolet light source, the particles fluoresce, hence serving as tracers to assess the uniformity of the mixture and therefore the effectiveness of the mixing procedure. Collection of the image using a digital camera provides data on intensity variations in the fluorescent signal, allowing for quantitative assessment of uniformity and mixedness. Various mixtures involving HTPB binder and Ammonium Perchlorate oxidizer were manufactured at various levels of mixing to test the diagnostic. In addition to confirming the uniformity of the nano-sized particles using the target mixing procedure, variations in mixing quality and comparisons between mechanically and hand-mixed propellants showed distinct differences correlating to the mixedness of each propellant that was supported with data from burning rate studies. The present diagnostic can therefore also be used to assess the mixedness of propellants that do not contain nanoparticle additives.

author list (cited authors)

  • Sammet, T. E., Stephens, M. A., Petersen, E. L., & Corbin, B. A.

citation count

  • 6

publication date

  • September 2010