Future Sustainable Propellants
posterposted on 15.11.2018, 10:26 by Peter Wilkinson
Poster presented at the 2018 Defence and Security Doctoral Symposium.
Traditionally propellants have been made from materials specifically manufactured for this purpose. This project seeks to find whether commercially available thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) can be used to replace some or all of the existing propellants. Traditionally gun propellants used either nitrocellulose sourced from natural ingredients such as cotton or a synthetic binder such as hydroxyl terminated polybutadiene (HTPB), cross linked with an isocyanate.
Two TPEs were selected and analysed for suitability as a propellant binder. Inert formulations were created by a new novel process. This involved coating the filler with TPE using a novel slurry coating process involving a Resonant Acoustic Mixer (RAM). The coated mixture was then hot pressed into a slab for mechanical testing.
It is thought that TPEs may be able to match the excellent mechanical properties and good performance of traditional gun propellant binders, whilst having a much lower risk of obsolescence and being much easier to be decommissioned in a more environmentally sound manner.