Radiative ignition of fine-ammonium perchlorate composite propellants

Jeremy Cain, M. Quinn Brewster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Radiative ignition of quasi-homogeneous mixtures of ammonium perchlorate (AP) and hydroxyterminated polybutadiene (HTPB) binder has been investigated experimentally. Solid propellants consisting of fine AP (2 μm) and HTPB binder (∼76/24% by mass) were ignited by CO2 laser radiation. The lower boundary of a go/no-go ignition map (minimum ignition time vs. heat flux) was obtained. Opacity was varied by adding carbon black up to 1% by mass. Ignition times ranged from 0.78 s to 0.076 s for incident fluxes ranging from 60 W/cm2 to 400 W/cm2. It was found that AP and HTPB are sufficiently strongly absorbing of 10.6 μm CO2 laser radiation (absorption coefficient ≈ 250 cm-1) so that the addition of carbon black in amounts typical of catalysts or opacitymodifying agents (up to 1%) would have only a small influence on radiative ignition times at 10.6 μm. A simple theoretical analysis indicated that the ignition time-flux data are consistent with in-depth absorption effects. Furthermore, this analysis showed that the assumption of surface absorption is not appropriate, even for this relatively opaque system. For broadband visible/near-infrared radiation, such as from burning metal/oxide particle systems, the effects of in-depth absorption would probably be even stronger.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-284
Number of pages7
JournalPropellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • AP/HTPB Solid Propellant
  • Ignition
  • Radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Radiative ignition of fine-ammonium perchlorate composite propellants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this