Assessing the mixedness of composite solid rocket propellants using fluorescent particles
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A new diagnostic technique was developed for assessing the effectiveness of mixing techniques of solid composite propellants using nanoparticle additives. The diagnostic uses nanosized 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 hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene binder and ammonium perchlorate oxidizer were manufactured at various levels of mixing to test the diagnostic. In addition to confirming the uniformity of the nanosized 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 ofpropellants that do not contain nanoparticle additives. Other potential applications include curing agent dispersion assessment and linking homogeneity to mixedness and mechanical properties. Copyright © 2010 by Luca Boccaletto.
author list (cited authors)
Sammet, T. E., Stephens, M. A., Petersen, E. L., & Corbin, B. A.