Ultrasonic Measurement of the Pressure-Coupled Response Function for Composite Solid Propellants

Thomas J. Hafenrichter, Jeffrey J. Murphy, Herman Krier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transient phenomena associated with solid-propellant combustion are examined by means of an oscillatory burner designed to create pressure oscillations through the use of a rotary nozzle. The oscillatory burner is designed to operate at pressures up to 20.7 MPa (3000 psi), with the target operating pressure achieved through prepressurization with an inert gas (helium) and manipulation of constant and variable-area nozzle diameters. A spherically focused 1-MHz ultrasound transducer is pulsed at 2.5 kHz through the bottom of the propellant to obtain the thickness-time profile of the propellant, which is then converted to a burning rate by taking the time derivative. Two piezoelectric pressure transducers simultaneously record the pressure-time history of each experiment. The burning rate and pressure are then used to calculate the pressure-coupled response of each test. The experiments presented here were motivated by three primary goals. The first was to investigate the effect of propellant composition on the response function. The second was to evaluate effect of mean pressure on the response of propellants, and the third was to investigate the response of a propellant within a plateau region. These experiments targeted mean pressures of 2.0, 5.0, and 12.5 MPa at frequencies ranging from 20-200 Hz.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-119
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Propulsion and Power
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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