Minimizing Life-Cycle Costs of Gun Propellant Selection Through Model-Based Decision Making: A Case Study in Environmental Screening and Performance Testing.

Report No. ARL-TR-2326
Authors: Ronald D. Anderson and Betsy M. Rice
Date/Pages: September 2000; 78 pages
Abstract: This work demonstrates the first phases of a newly proposed gun propellant formulation process that will minimize life-cycle costs through science-based design. This new approach proposes maximal use of modeling and simulation in the earliest phases of the developmental cycle to screen candidate formulations, resulting in elimination of probable poor performers and identification of the most promising test candidates. The screening and identification of propellant formulations are demonstrated under the assumption of a specific weapon platform and user requirements. The process of selecting a propellant for the assumed gun system application has been distilled into measurable steps, leading from a set of candidate materials, through logical and numerical filters, to a shorter list of energetic materials demonstrated as viable weapon platform choices. Environmental filtering and performance modeling are used to screen propellants through a well-defined sequence of tests designed to weed out materials not meeting safety, energy, or manufacturability standards. Because much of the testing is performed by computer modeling, the gun systems and energetic materials need not be present (or even existent) in order to be described and matched against performance requirements for future applications. The calculations demonstrate that utilizing computer models rather than physical testing in the early developmental stages of the formulation process can produce enormous savings in labor, material, and environmental costs, along with a tremendous reduction in the time required to select a best candidate" propellant.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2000