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International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion
ESCI SJR: 0.149 SNIP: 0.16 CiteScore™: 0.29

ISSN Imprimer: 2150-766X
ISSN En ligne: 2150-7678

International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion

DOI: 10.1615/IntJEnergeticMaterialsChemProp.v6.i4.50
pages 483-499


S. Ballereau
SNPE Matériaux Energétiques, Saint Médard en Jalles
G. Fouin
SNPE Matériaux Energétiques, Vert le Petit
M. Pawlowski
DGA/DE/CAEPE, Saint Médard en Jalles


Since 1990, many theoretical and experimental studies have been carried on to measure motor data, like the propellant regression rate in SRM or ITI behavior. Ultrasonic measurements are one of the "low cost methods" to perform such measurements. By working closely with the DGA/DE/CAEPE (Centre d’Achèvement et d’Essais des Propulseurs et Engins), the rocket motor assembly and test center for the French ballistic missiles, SNPE Materiaux Energétique (SME) has investigated the application of this technique to determine different characteristics of solid propellant in full-scale motors to be able to predict accurately their internal ballistics and performance. The first generation of ultrasound transducers was used on a full scale motor test in 1998. These measurements allowed us to assess different local phenomena, such as the front flame arrival time on the thermal insulators all along the motor or the burning rate behavior at low pressure. The ultrasonic data acquisition was recorded during the entire test but, with this type of transducers, the front flame regression has been observed on only the last 15 cm of propellant, which represents the final part of the motor test.
Recent system studies carried out in SME during the last 3 years have focused on this technology. The aim of these studies was essentially to improve the actual measurement method to increase the depth of acquisition. New ultrasonic measurement methods have been developed. These new transducers, commonly called "Great Depth Transducers," are adapted to follow up the propellant flame regression on a far more important depth. On the same kind of motor, the capacity offered by the new transducers permitted us to confirm and to compare more accurately, and on a large web of the grain, the different behaviors of the burning rate between a casting point, a knit-line, or an intermediate plane. These results are quite new and give us a fresh approach which brings us to a better understanding of the local burning rate variation and its connections with the casting process.
This study has been supported by CNES within its Research and Technology Program and by DGA, the French Armament Procurement Agency. EUROPROPULSION and AVIO, responsible for ballistic performance of MPS P230, have provided SME with necessary information to complete this study.