"Solid Propellant Selection and Characterization"

by Aerojet, Thiokol, Hercules, Rocketdyne, United Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, and NASA Lewis Research Center scientists and engineers


Solid Propellant Selection and Characterization

by Aerojet, Thiokol, Hercules, Rocketdyne, United Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, and NASA Lewis Research Center scientists and engineers

An in-depth, comprehensive, and complete reference guide for advanced composite and double-base solid propellants, from the world's leading experts on the subject.

You won't find books like this on Amazon, nor in your local rocket shop.  It has all the scientific theory, chemistry, physics, and engineering information and data you'll need to learn how to "do it right."

This is a thick, heavy book by chemical engineers and scientists, written for chemical engineers and scientists.  It's not in any way superficial, nor an "easy read."  But if you want to get to the essentials of composite (and double-base) solid propellant chemical engineering, here it is in one volume.

Probably the best book of its kind.  If you design, build, test, or use solid propellant rockets, you need this reference handbook.  It's the official NASA composite solid propellant guide.  Virtually all of the contents were--no long ago--quite secret.  (We can personally vouch for this, having worked at Aerojet-General's solid rocket plant for more than two decades.)

The text covers selection of propellants, propellant characterization, internal ballistics, mechanical properties, stability, hazards, and much, much more.  It's loaded with key ballistics data, characterization theory and practice, burn rate parameters, scientific analyses, rocketry information, and military missile lore, providing data on all types of composite rocket and missile propellant grains.

  • Selection of propellant type
    • Performance properties
    • Internal ballistic properties
    • Mechanical properties
    • Thermal and storage stability
    • Hazard properties
    • Propellant costs
  • Performance characterization:
    • Delivered specific impulse
    • Combustion efficiency
    • Nozzle efficiency
    • Delivered density-impulse
  • Internal ballistics and combustion characterization:
    • Internal ballistics
    • Burning rate
    • Pressure sensitivity of burning rate
    • Temperature sensitivity of burning rate
    • Measurement of internal ballistic properties
    • Factors in and characterization of erosive burning
    • Acceleration effects
    • Oscillatory combustion 
    • Radar attenuation
  • Mechanical properties characterization:
    • Screening tests
    • Uniaxial tensile properties
    • Bond evaluation
    • Structural analysis properties
    • Viscoelastic and thermal properties
    • Failure properties
  • Stability characterization:
    • Storage
    • Binder stability
    • Shelf life
    • Stability to humidity
    • Ingredient volatility
    • Stability of liner-propellant bond
    • Plasticizer migration
    • Sterilization
    • Space environment
  • Hazard characterization:
    • Impact hazard
    • Friction hazard
    • Spark hazard
    • Autoignition hazard
    • Environmental heating
    • Exothermic reactions
    • Detonation hazard
    • Toxic hazard
What kind of composites are covered?  Here's a partial list:
  • Polybutadiene (PB) composite propellants: CTPB, PBAA, PBAN
  • Polyurethane (PU) composite propellants: HTPB
  • Double-base propellants (with nitroglycerin, TEGDN, TMETN), solvent cast and extruded
  • Polysulfide (PS) composite propellants
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) composite propellants, cast and extruded
  • Saturated hydrocarbon binder composite propellants
  • Fluorocarbon (FC) composite propellants, extruded and machined
And yes, both withand without metal additives!

You'll find details (and fine NASA-quality engineering drawings, figures, graphs and tables) for:

  • Metal additive percentages vs burning rate and n burning rate exponent
  • Flame temperature
  • Isp range
  • Density
  • Metal content
  • Ingredients cost
  • Processing methods
Want more?  How about this:
  • Uniaxial mechanical properties at low, room, and high temperatures
  • Hazard properties: 50% fire impact (kg-cm), card gap (0% and 50% fire)
  • DOT/Military classifications
Chemical data?  There's plenty of chemical data, too, for oxidizers, fuels, polymers, plasticizers, curing agents, and additives:
  • Ammonium perchlorate
  • HMX
  • RDX
  • Al
  • Beryllium powder
  • PBAN
  • PBAA
  • CTPB
  • HTPB
  • Polysulfide
  • PPG
  • PU
  • Nitrocellulose
  • Nitroglycerin
  • Organic esters
  • Polysufide curing mixtures
  • Epoxide resins
  • TDI
  • HMDI
  • Aziridines
And graphs, plenty of charts and graphs:
  • Oxidizing balance
  • Effect of O/F ratio on Isp performance efficiency
  • Isp efficiency vs equilibrium flame temperature
  • Effect of iron catalysts on burning rates of PBAN propellants
  • Effect of iron oxide surface area on burning-rate catalysis in PBAN propellants
  • Effect of oxidizer grind on burning rate in PBAN propellants
  • Effect of aluminum level on burning rate in PBAN propellants
  • Chamber pressure versus aluminum agglomerate size (uncoated and dichromated)
  • Tailoring aluminum content to nozzle size for peak delivered specific impulse
  • Residence time of metal additives and gases within the combustion chamber
  • Mass discharge rates
  • Isp loss vs particle diameter for BATES motors
  • Delivered density-impulse
  • Influence of heat of explosion on burning rate
  • Mesa and plateau ballistics in double-base propellants
  • Effect of axial spin on thrust level in composite propellant motors
This valuable book gives the practical information you need to design and build a high-technology, state-of-the-art composite solid propellant rocket motor. 

The contents are the result of more than 25 years of investigations by the world's largest propulsion contractors.  Literally millions of dollars were spent obtaining this critical yet hard-to-find data. 

Plus there's a 10-page glossary of nomenclature, symbols, and definitions; 9 pages of technical references (115 different studies are listed);  ... and MUCH more not mentioned here!

Typical illustrations from the book (smaller than actual size)

Typical detailed propellant engineering table

Typical detailed engineering design calculations flow chart

Typical engineering relationships chart (much smaller than in book)

Typical detailed aluminum additive results illustration (PBAN)

Typical explanation of metal additive theory

If you design, mix, cast, cure, test, or fly serious composite rocket motors of any size, you'll want this superb reference textbook.  It’s especially useful for “amateur” rocket builders -- with an abundance of data, esoteric information, and once-secret lore from the world's foremost rocket builders: Aerojet, Hercules, UTC, Thiokol, Rocketdyne, JPL, Cal Tech, and NASA.

Very hard to find and now out-of-print, this new limited edition has been republished by the Rocket Science Institute.  It's printed with a high-resolution laser printer (not photocopied) on high-quality, bright-white, acid-free paper for years of reference use.  132 pages,large and easy-to-read 11" x 8-1/2" size. 

ISBN 1-878628-24-0.     $24.95

Priority Mail Postage US $3.85            Global Priority Mail (Canada / Mexico) US$7.00          Global Priority Mail International US$9.00.

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Book Catalog
Nitrate-type Propellants Group