A Chemically Specific Burning Rate Predictor Model for Energetic Materials

Report No. ARL-TR-2390
Authors: Martin S. Miller, William R. Anderson
Date/Pages: February 2001; 64 pages
Abstract: The application of complex networks of elementary chemical reactions to the gas phase of burning energetic materials has increased markedly over the last decade. The exquisite complexity of these gas-phase reaction networks, coupled with available high-rigor treatments of transport, is not matched by an equivalent level of sophistication in descriptions of the condensed-phase and interfacial phenomena. Owing to the vastly more complicated, many-body nature of the condensed phase, this condition is not likely to be relieved soon. In response to these difficulties, a new semi-empirical approach to burning-rate calculation has been developed and applied to frozen ozone, cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine (RDX), and nitroglycerine. The new approach hypothesizes a single overall reaction linking the unreacted material to the net products of condensed-phase decomposition and characterizes their rate of formation according to an empirically derived pyrolysis law. These condensed- phase products become the reactants for the gas phase, which are treated in full elementary-reaction detail. Using this new semi-empirical model, a methodology for computing the relative effects of several additives on the burning rate of nitroglycerine is developed and demonstrated. Hopefully this approach will enable more rapid progress in modeling multi-ingredient propellants than did previous approaches attempting to model the condensed-phase processes in detail.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: February 1, 2001