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Role of Binders in Solid Propellant Combustion

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The objective of this program was to investigate and define the effects of inert binder properties on composite solid propellant burning rate. Experimental pyrolysis data were obtained for many binders of practical interest over a wide range of heating rates and pressures, in several environmental gases, with and without 10-percent ammonium perchlorate AP contained in the sample, and in some cases with catalysts. These data were used to extract kinetics constants from Arrhenius plots, and heat of decomposition. In addition, motion pictures were taken of the pyrolyzing surface and gas samples were extracted for analysis. Pyrolysis kinetics varied between binders, but were found to be independent of pressure, the presence of AP, and the presence of burn rate catalysts however, a chlorine gas environment had a material effect upon the results. All of the binders exhibited molten, boiling surfaces mingled with char, to varying degrees the amount of char increased with AP present, and in chlorine. Relevant data were input to the Derr-Beckstead-Price combustion model in order to associate binder properties with known binder effects on burning rate. Although the effects were predictable, they stemmed from properties other than pyrolysis kinetics however, the binder data as applied to the model revealed possible deficiencies in the model, which are discussed. It appears that the approach of combustion tailoring by binder modification would have to involve the gas phase combustion processes rather than surface pyrolysis. Therefore, future work concerning the role of binder should be directed toward the gas phase.

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Final rept. 14 Jun 1971-16 Jun 1972



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Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

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