Fiber Reinforcement of Gun Propellants
ARMY BALLISTIC RESEARCH LAB ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND MD
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The basis for this paper is the hypothesis that explosive reactions of gun propellant charges subjected to gross damage from attack by shaped charge SC or kinetic energy KE rounds are the result of catastrophic grain failures i.e., that as a result of this type of event, the reactive surface area as increased by many orders of magnitude. Thus, given a propellant ignition by the impact of the SC or KE round, the reaction rate will also be orders of magnitude greater than that for which the propellant was designed. To obviate this sequence of events and thus produce mild reactions to these types of stimuli, it was proposed that propellant grains be made stronger through the addition of small percentages of high strength-to-weight-ratio materials e.g., graphite fibers. I was anticipated that these reinforcing elements would assume the stress, and because of their extremely large elastic moduli would tend to limit the damage, in particular the fracturing experienced by the propellant grains, and thus limit the reaction rate. Representative fibers and propellants were selected, mixed and tested for sensitiveness and mechanical properties. Response to standard sensitiveness tests was relatively unaffected by fiber addition mechanical properties of a Low Vulnerability Ammunition LOVA propellant, CABRDX, were enhanced while those of a standard propellant, M-30 were degraded.
- Ammunition and Explosives