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35PACE BERT W. BUCHHEIM qT VID B. LANGMUIR } Pu iene LLIAM T. RUSSELL . inao mM. avo TECHNOLOGY Edited by HOWARD S. SEIFERT Special Auistont for Professional Development ‘Space Technology Laboratories i i ] Visiting Professor of Engineering University of California los Angeles, California NEW YORK - JOHN WILEY AND SONS, INC. London - Chapman and Hall Limited Solid Propellants 16-09 With the adoption of the internal-burning, case-bonded charge, , additional benefits were realized: 1, During transport and handling in the field, the relatively rigid propellant charge stiffened and supported the thin-walled chamber. 2. Throughout its flight, the charge was completely supported by the chamber against pressure and acceleration forces, 3. Performance was further improved by eliminating supplemental charge supports (the trap) and through higher propellant loading density; what had previously been the annulus between charge and chamber and unfilled chamber domes now contained propellant. ‘Thus it was that, in October 1947, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory sued a study report * which advocated that solid propellants be eon- idered for high-performance, long-range rocket vehicles. A research rocket, 3 in, in diameter, later demonstrated the predicted perform- ance. Calculated vacuum velocity for the engine was approximately 11,000 ft/sec, and growth potential beyond this was self-evident. High performance was also demonstrated for unusually large solid propellant engines when Thiokol fight-tested their RVA-10, in Febru- ary 1953, and more recently when the short-range ballistic missile Sergeant. and the three-stage re-entry test vehiele X-17 were flown, Today we understand, too, that the Nike Hercules and even the inter. mediate-range ballistic missile Polaris will be powered by solid propellants. 16-3 SOLID PROPELLANTS The fundamental purpose of the rocket engine is to deliver an ‘impulse, a thrust for a given time, in order to accelerate the payload or Satellite to some desired velocity. Solid propellants derive the required impulse from an oxidizer and fuel which react. chemically to liberate gaseous products and large quantities of heat. If oxidizer and fuel are within the same molecule, as they are in a double-base propellant,* it is classified as homogeneous. If, however, there are tiny, diserete particles of oxidizer dispersed uniformly throughout the fuel matrix, itis classed as a composite propellant. Hereafter, this presentation will be confined to propellants which are (a) compounded from an oxidizer of potassium, ammonium or lithium perchlorate, or potassium nitrate and a fuel of special rubber or resin, and (b) east rather than extruded or molded under pressure ‘* Nitroglycerin-nitrocelluloge propellant, or CyHs(NOy)y—CyHlq0,(NO,)9. 16-10 Solid Rocket Propulsion ani «tase aa Combustion Fue ere Uning Se, Figure 16-4 Manufecture of engine with internal-burning charge of castable com= posite propellant. Although propellants based on ammonium nitrate or ammonium picrate are desirable for many applications, and other methods of Processing are useful, they seem less suitable for the large high- performance rockets under consideration, The east double-base group, which is applicabley is excluded in order to simplify the presentation, 16-3-1 Manufacture Figure 16-4 illustrates one of numerous methods of preparing a solid propellant engine. Ingredients generally number four to nine, depending on the particular requirements of the mission. ‘The oxidizer and fuel constitute about 93 to 97 per cent, and minor ingredients the balance of the composition. ‘The oxidizers are white crystalline granules, having a density of 1.95 to 2.54 grams/em*, Grinding ie frequently used as a method of adjusting the propellant burning rate; conversely, in order to main-