Science and Technology of Energetic Materials

Vol.63, No.4 (2002)

Research paper

Combustion catalysts of non - pollutant solid rocket propellant
Hidetsugu Nakamura and Miyako Akiyoshi


The thermal reaction and the combustion of non - pollutant solid rocket propellant containing ammonium perchlorate (NH4ClO4) were studied by thermal analysis, combustion experiments and analyses of the reaction residue in order to clarify the mechanism of combustion of non - pollutant solid rocket propellant. The results obtained are as follows.
   Iron oxide is a representative catalyst of usual solid rocket propellant containing ammonium perchlorate. The mechanism of this catalytic effect was estimated as that the formation of an unstable iron perchlorate in the course of reaction. But, it had no catalytic effect on the NH4ClO4 Sodium nitrates - (NaNO3) - Al - binder propellant and NH4NO3 - Al / Mg - binder propellant from the experiments of thermal reaction and combustion. This reason was ascribed to the formation of sodium perchlorate and ammonium nitrate which were more stable compared to ammonium perchlorate because of the double decomposition between ammonium perchlorate and sodium nitrate in NH4ClO4 - NaNO2 - Al - binder propellant on heating. Then, iron oxide or other iron containing catalyst had also no catalytic effect on sodium perchlorate and ammonium nitrate.
   Active carbon had a catalytic effect both on the thermal reaction and combustion of NH4ClO4 - NaNO3 - Al- binder propellant. Moreover, pressure index calculated from Vieille's equation was a small value of 0.43 - 0.52 compared to that without catalyst. Oxides, which had the Structure of perovokite type also, had a catalytic effect on the NH4ClO4 - NaNO3 - Al - binder propellant, though its effect was smaller than that compared to active carbon.

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