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International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion
STATIC FIRING TESTS OF ALUMINUM-WATER PROPELLANT MOTORS CONTAINING V-ALEX NANOPOWDERS
Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Technion I.I.T., Technion City, Haifa, Israel
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Mcgill University, Montreal, QC, Canada; Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Technion I.I.T., Technion City, Haifa, Israel; Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Afeka College of Engineering, Tel-Aviv, Israel
The performance parameters of solid propellants comprised of V-ALEX nanoaluminum powders and water were investigated by conducting laboratory scale rocket motor static firing experiments. Static firing experiments were conducted for two propellant compositions: V-ALEX based propellants with
d50 = 60 nm, and a bimodal aluminum composition. Full grain configuration and center perforated grain configuration were tested with varying grain lengths and nozzle throat diameters. It was found that center perforated grains resulted in higher pressure and thrust values than full grain configurations, where an increase in grain length and a decrease in throat diameter yielded higher specific
impulse values, as expected. Pure V-ALEX propellants demonstrated higher specific impulse and characteristic velocities than bimodal aluminum compositions with ~ 146 s and ~ 1046 m/s for the pure 100% nano V-ALEX composition, versus ~ 103 s and ~ 1005 m/s for the bimodal composition. The residual mass retained inside the rocket motor after each experiment ranged between 20% and
32%, a significant amount of unejected mass, which lowered the actual performance parameters farther from theoretical values. Experiments conducted with increased water content (Φ<1), although having lower propellant densities, produced higher gravimetric and volumetric specific impulses due to the water acting as an additional working fluid accelerated through the nozzle.
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