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International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion
ESCI SJR: 0.142 SNIP: 0.16 CiteScore™: 0.29

ISSN Print: 2150-766X
ISSN Online: 2150-7678

International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion

DOI: 10.1615/IntJEnergeticMaterialsChemProp.2016016753
pages 325-338

UTILIZATION OF MICRO X-RAY COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY FOR THE QUALITY ASSURANCE OF GUN PROPELLANTS

Paul Hungler
Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC), Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Catalin Florin Petre
Defence Research and Development Canada – Valcartier, Québec, QC, G3J 1X5, Canada

ABSTRACT

Micro X-ray computed tomography (CT) was used to perform quality assurance tests on gun propellant grains to identify defects and measure critical internal geometries. Multiple batches of low-vulnerability ammunition (LOVA) were manufactured and high-resolution three-dimensional (3D) models of the propellant grains were examined. Defects such as shrinkage, cracking, and nonuniform processing were found. Cracks in internal webs were located and the size of the crack was quantified by looking at axial and orthogonal slices of the propellant grain. Micro CT proved capable of providing precise measurements of internal features such as web thickness, which offered information on deformation. Using orthogonal slices the exact thicknesses of individual webs were measured, providing an indication of which areas within the grain would reach sliver point first. Results of multiple web measurements showed that well manufactured grains had normal distribution curves for web thickness with a mean close to the intended design dimension, while poorly manufactured grains do not conform to normal distributions. The study showed that micro X-ray CT is a very effective tool for the nondestructive evaluation of propellant grains and could be used effectively for research and development work on novel propellants.


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