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Ignition of Propellants Through Nanostructured Materials

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Technical Report,01 Apr 2008,01 Jan 2016

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AFRL/RQRC Edwards AFB United States

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This project was started with the intention of utilizing ignition properties of nanoparticles and nano-energetics for ignition of fuel spray. There are a number of properties that are desirable for an ignition system. Ideally an ignition system should be robust, efficient, reliable, simple, low cost, and flexible. Also, an ignition system should initiate combustion under a broad range of conditions in order to maximize the operational flexibility of energy and propulsion systems. We have studied the ignition of liquid fuel and simulated solid rocket fuels by the photo-ignition of single wall carbon nanotubes. The investigation includes the effect of solid additives such as aluminum nanoparticles and solid oxidizers such as ammonium perchlorate on the photo-ignition characteristics. We found that by mixing carbon nanotubes with other nanoparticles and powdered material, the ignition parameters such as burn temperature and burn duration can be tailored to meet different ignition requirements such as ignition energy, ignition delay, pressure, temperature, and burn duration. We also studied photo-ignition of liquid fuel by graphene oxide. We believe our study of photo-ignition of a fuel spray and a solid fuel provides a suitable method for ignition of liquid rocket engines and solid rocket motors. Among the advantages of this approach are a compact, light-weight, and robust ignition method and it enables volumetric distributed ignition of fuel sprays.

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