- Program Areas
- Energy and Water
- Environmental Restoration
- Munitions Response
- Resource Conservation and Climate Change
- Weapons Systems and Platforms
Novel Lead-Free Ballistic Modifiers for Improved, IM-Compliant Minimum Signature Propellants
State-of-the-art smokeless rocket motors utilize high energy nitramines such as RDX along with lead-based catalysts in order to meet operational requirements. Exposure to either of these integral components poses serious health risks. It is therefore important to develop new environmentally benign combustion catalysts for smokeless propellants capable of modulating the ballistic performance of emerging state-of-the-art smokeless propellant formulations.
The objective of this project is to test a series of new compounds as lead-free, burn rate modifiers in emerging minimum signature propellant formulations. The formulations efforts currently under way in the Joint Insensitive Munitions Technology Program (JIMTP) will be leveraged as a test bed for these novel catalysts.
Researchers will evaluate a series of new promising materials previously developed under Department of Defense (DoD) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) programs. Rather than propose a new propellant development effort, the emerging insensitive munitions (IM)-driven minimum signature propellants formulation being developed under JIMTP will be leveraged. These JIMTP formulation efforts are focused on reducing the propellant sensitivity by incorporating new, less sensitive energetic solids as well as new energetic binder systems for more efficient energy partitioning. Lead-based compounds will be replaced with one or more ingredients, including dihydrobis(5-aminotetrazole-1-yl)borate (HATB), metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), and hollow proteins (Ferritin). The latter two will be incorporated as empty porous materials as well as a variety of host guest complexes with common propellant oxidizers. Initially the combustion properties of the new catalyst candidates will be evaluated against the individual ingredients in the JIMTP propellant formulations (oxidizers, binder, plasticizers, etc.) as well as in state-of-the-art minimum signature propellant formulations. The most promising catalysts will then be incorporated into the emerging formulations for ballistic evaluation. The requirement of ballistic flexibility similar to that for reduced smoke propellants that contain ammonium perchlorate will be addressed.
Points of Contact
Dr. Andrew Nelson
Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division
Weapons Systems and Platforms
SERDP and ESTCP
- Fact Sheet - Brief project summary with links to related documents and points of contact.
- Final Report - Comprehensive report for every completed SERDP and ESTCP project that contains all technical results.
- Cost & Performance Report - Overview of ESTCP demonstration activities, results, and conclusions, standardized to facilitate implementation decisions.
- Technical Report - Additional interim reports, laboratory reports, demonstration reports, and technology survey reports.
- Guidance - Instructional information on technical topics such as protocols and user’s guides.
- Workshop Report - Summary of workshop discussion and findings.
- Multimedia - On demand videos, animations, and webcasts highlighting featured initiatives or technologies.
- Model/Software - Computer programs and applications available for download.
- Database - Digitally organized collection of data available to search and access.