Journal of Mechanical Science and Technology

, Volume 32, Issue 12, pp 5973–5987 | Cite as

Investigations into the copper chromite particle size effect on the combustion characteristics of poly(vinyl-chloride) plastisol propellants

  • Mohamed Amine BenmahammedEmail author
  • Abdelrazak Mouloud


The investigation of the possibility to optimize ballistic behavior and consequently to obtain better performance without affecting the cost and safety aspect of plastisol propellants has been presented in this paper. Addition of specific additives and changes in particle size can be one of these solutions, which are continuously in research. The use of burn rate modifier and metallic fuel, with finer particle sizes, becomes mandatory, to enhance the catalytic effect on ammonium perchlorate and to offer additional high heat release. Moreover, the knowledge of the combustion characteristics and especially the burning rate depending on the combustion chamber pressure of the propellant are important conditions in the validation and successful design of a solid rocket motor. The first part of this work deals with the selection of the higher energetic catalyst among three of the most common of them, namely copper chromite, ferric oxide and ferrocene. The selection results in choosing copper chromite as the best burning catalyst. Then, we have studied the effect of its particle size on the thermoanalytical properties of poly(vinyl-chloride) plasticized propellants, by the determination of energetic and kinetic characteristics through the use of an adiabatic bomb calorimeter and a differential scanning calorimeter respectively. The kinetic parameters were determined by Ozawa and Kissinger methods and compared. Besides, the effect of particle size on the combustion properties has been also studied. The plot of the burning rate-pressure curves is used to determine the combustion laws using a strand burner in the typical Crawford bomb. Copper chromite and its particle size have been found to influence the decomposition and to enhance the burning rate of the plastisol propellants. In the second part, we have investigated the energetic effect of fine aluminum powder on the thermal decomposition of ammonium perchlorate and of plastisol propellant as a function of its concentration, both in the presence and the absence of 1 mass-% copper chromite in the basic propellant composition. Aluminum is chosen because of its effect to get high flame temperatures and increased performance.


Adiabatic bomb calorimeter Aluminum Copper chromite Crawford bomb Differential scanning calorimeter Plastisol propellant 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    K. V. Suresh Babu, P. K. Raju, C. R. Thomas, A. Syed Hamed and K. N. Ninan, Studies on composite solid propellant with tri–modal ammonium perchlorate containing an ultrafine fraction, Defence Technology, 13 (4) (2017) 239–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    M. T. Vernacchia, Development, modeling and testing of a slow–burning solid rocket propulsion system, Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts institute of technology “MIT”, Cambridge, USA (2017).Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    M. Rodriguez–Pesina, J. Garcia–Dominguez, F. Garcia–Hernandez, L. M. Flores–Vélez and O. Dominguez, The thermal decomposition of ammonium perchlorate–aluminum propellants in presence of metallic zinc particles, Materials Sciences and Applications, 8 (2017) 436–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. [4]
    A. Dey, A. K. Sikder, M. B. Talawar and S. Chottopadhyay, Towards new directions in oxidizers/energetic fillers for composite propellants: an overview, Cent. Eur. J. Energ. Mater., 12 (2) (2015) 377–399.Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    M. A. Benmahammed and A. Mouloud, Effects of some physical parameters on burning rate of PVC–plasticized propellants, Proc. 28th Int. Annual Conference ICT on Combustion and Detonation, Karlsruhe, Germany (1997).Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    N. Kubota, Propellants and explosives: Thermochemical aspects of combustion, Second Ed., Wiley–VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany (2007).Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    W. Li and H. Cheng, Cu–Cr–O nanocomposites: Synthesis and characterization as catalysts for solid–state propellants, Solid State Sciences, 9 (8) (2007) 750–755.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. [8]
    R. Bogusz, P. Magnuszewska, B. Florczak, A. Maranda and K. Drozdzewska, Studies of the influence of nano iron(III) oxide on selected properties of solid heterogeneous propellants based on HTPB, Cent. Eur. J. Energ. Mater., 13 (4) (2016) 1051–1063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. [9]
    L. V. Kakumanu, N. Yodav and S. Karmakar, Combustion study of composite solid propellants containing metal phtalocyanines, Int. J. Aerospace Sci., 3 (2) (2014) 31–36.Google Scholar
  10. [10]
    D. Kshirsagar et al., Effect of Nano Cr2O3 in HTPB/AP/Al based composite propellant formulations, Defence Science Journal, 66 (2) (2016) 100–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. [11]
    A. V. Boldyreva et al., Effects of spinels on the pyrolysis and combustion rates for ammonium perchlorate mixtures, Combust. Explos. Shock Waves, 11 (5) (1975) 611–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. [12]
    E. A. Campos et al., Performance evaluation of commercial copper chromites as burning rate catalyst for solid propellants, J. Aerosp. Technol. Manag., 2 (3) (2010) 323–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. [13]
    Y. Hayri, V. Celik and E. Degirmanci, Experimental investigation of the factors affecting the burning rate of solid rocket propellants, Fuel, 115 (2014) 794–803.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. [14]
    D. R. Kshirsagar, S. Jain, S. Bhandarkar, M. Vemuri and Mehilal, Studies on the effect of nano–MnO2 in HTPB–based composite propellant formulations, Cent. Eur. J. Energ. Mater., 14 (3) (2017) 589–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. [15]
    W. Pang et al., Effects of different nanosized metal oxide catalysts on the properties of composite solid propellants, Combust. Sci. Technol., 188 (3) (2016) 315–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. [16]
    Y. Chen et al., Study of aluminum particle combustion in solid propellant plumes using digital in line holography and imaging pyrometry, Combust. Flame, 182 (2017) 225–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. [17]
    T. R. Sippel, S. F. Son and L. J. Groven, Aluminum agglomeration reduction in a composite propellant using tailored Al/PTFE particles, Combust. Flame, 161 (2014) 311–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. [18]
    S. R. Jain, Solid propellant binders, J. Scientific & Industrial Research, 61 (2002) 899–911.Google Scholar
  19. [19]
    C. H. Burnside, Correlation of ferric oxide surface area and propellant burning rate, Technical report, AIAA Paper 75–234, Pasadena, CA, USA (1975).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. [20]
    K. Kishore, V. R. Pai–Verneker and M. R. Sunitha, Effect of catalyst concentration on the burning rate of composite solid propellants, AIAA Journal, 15 (11) (1977) 1649–1651.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. [21]
    K. Kishore and K. Sridhara, Solid propellant chemistry: Condensed phase behaviour of ammonium perchloratebased solid propellants, DRDO, Delhi, India (1999).Google Scholar
  22. [22]
    K. Ishitha and P. A. Ramakrishna, Studies on the role of iron oxide and copper chromite in solid propellant combustion, Combust. Flame, 161 (10) (2014) 2717–2728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. [23]
    W. Hemminger and G. Hohne, Calorimetry, fundamentals and practice, Verlag Chemie (1984).Google Scholar
  24. [24]
    W. Wendlandt, Thermal analysis, Third Ed., John Wiley & Sons, 19 (1986).Google Scholar
  25. [25]
    K. Krishnan, G. Viswanathan, A. J. Kurian and K. N. Ninan, Kinetics of decomposition of nitramine propellant by differential scanning calorimetry, Defence Science Journal, 42 (3) (1992) 135–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. [26]
    ASTM E 698, Standard test method for Arrhenius kinetic constants for thermally unstable materials (2001).Google Scholar
  27. [27]
    M. E. Brown, Introduction to thermal analysis, Techniques and Applications 2nd Ed., Kluwer Academic Publishers (2001).Google Scholar
  28. [28]
    G. Gupta, L. Jawale, Mehilal and B. Bhattacharya, Various methods for the determination of the burning rates of solid propellants–An overview, Cent. Eur. J. Energ. Mater., 12 (3) (2015) 593–620.Google Scholar
  29. [29]
    G. Singh, I. P. S. Kapoor, S. Dubey and P. F. Siril, Preparation, characterization and catalytic activity of transition metal oxide nanocrystals, J. Sci. Conf. Proc., 1 (2008) 7–14.Google Scholar
  30. [30]
    T. L. Varghese and V. N. Krishnamurthy, The chemistry and technology of solid rocket propellants (a treatise on solid propellants), Allied Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi (2017) 57–62.Google Scholar
  31. [31]
    P. R. Patil, V. N. Krishnamurthy and S. S. Joshi, Effect of nano–copper oxide and copper chromite on the thermal decomposition of ammonium perchlorate, Propell. Explo. Pyrotech., 33 (4) (2008) 266–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. [32]
    A. P. Sanoop, R. Rajeev and B. K. George, Synthesis and characterization of a novel copper chromite catalyst for the thermal decomposition of ammonium perchlorate, Thermochimica Acta, 606 (2015) 34–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. [33]
    S. S. Joshi, P. R. Patil and V. N. Krishnamurthy, Thermal decomposition of ammonium perchlorate in the presence of nanosized ferric oxide, Defence Science Journal, 58 (6) (2008) 721–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. [34]
    W. Cai, P. Thakre and V. Yang, A model of AP/HTPB composite propellant combustion in rocket–motor environments, Combust. Sci. and Tech., 180 (2008) 2143–2169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. [35]
    J. C. Mullen, Composite propellant combustion with low aluminum agglomeration, Thesis in Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois (2010).Google Scholar
  36. [36]
    A. Ishihara, M. Q. Brewster, T. A. Sheridan and H. Krier, The influence of radiative heat feedback on burning rate in aluminized propellants, Combust. Flame, 84 (1–2) (1991) 141–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. [37]
    G. P. Sutton and O. Biblarz, Rocket propulsion elements, Eighth Ed., John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ, USA (2010).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Korean Society of Mechanical Engineers and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamed Amine Benmahammed
    • 1
    Email author
  • Abdelrazak Mouloud
    • 2
  1. 1.Département des Sciences et TechnologieTipazaAlgérie
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Génie des Procédés, EMPAlgerAlgérie

Personalised recommendations