Experimental and Modeling Studies of Plasma Injection by an Electrothermal Igniter Into a Solid Propellant Gun Charge

Report No. ARL-TR-3806
Authors: Michael J. Nusca and Stephen L. Howard
Date/Pages: June 2006; 36 pages
Abstract: Recent requirements for hypervelocity projectile launch for strategic U.S. Army missions have led to the proposal of a variety of gun propulsion systems. Among these systems are those that utilize solid propellant along with electrothermal-chemical (ETC) augmentation. Advanced solid propellant systems with complex grain geometry and loading configuration are also being investigated. In response to this need, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has, for a number of years, engaged in the study of solid propellant ignition using a hot, low molecular-weight plasma generated by ETC means. In addition, ARL is developing an ETC modeling capability using the next-generation interior ballistics code, NGEN, and a series of experimental studies in a ballistic simulator to generate code validation data. The current report demonstrates progress for application of the NGEN code to solid propellant, direct-fire gun systems in which various propellant configurations (i.e., grains and disks) are combined into a single charge in order to obtain higher-loading densities. The charge is ignited using the efflux from an ETC plasma capillary made of polyethylene. Comparison with pressure data measured in a 25-mm ballistics simulator, filled with disks of JA2 propellant as the main charge and a small amount of inert grains as filler, provides validation of the NGEN model with respect to the representation of the plasma efflux from an ablation capillary, into the chamber, and around propellant disks.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: June 1, 2006