Evaluation of ultrasound technique for solid-propellant burning-rate response measurements

Jeffrey J. Murphy, Herman Krier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development of an ultrasound technique for precisely measuring the instantaneous regression rate of a solid-rocket propellant under transient conditions is reviewed. The technique is used to measure the burning-rate response of several solid propellants to an oscillatory chamber pressure with a frequency of up to 300 Hz. This measurement is known as the propellant's pressure-coupled response function and is used as an input into rocket stability prediction models. The ultrasound waveforms are analyzed using cross-correlation and other digital signal processing techniques to determine burning rate. Digital methods are less prone to bias and offer greater flexibility than other techniques previously used. The resulting data are corrected for compression effects. The effects of a changing thermal profile on the measurement are discussed. Other phenomena that may corrupt the measurement, such as surface roughness, are also covered. Results of the experiments are compared to data from two other measurement techniques: A T-burner and a magnetic flowmeter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-651
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Propulsion and Power
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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