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Solid Rocket Motor Nozzles
Thiokol Chemical, Rocketdyne Solid Rocket Division, Rockwell, Hercules, United Technologies, and the NASA Lewis Research Center

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Solid Rocket Motor Nozzles
Thiokol Chemical, Rocketdyne Solid Rocket Division, Rockwell, Hercules, United Technologies, and the NASA Lewis Research Center

About 65 to 75 percent of the total rocket engine thrust is developed by acceleration of the combustion products to sonic velocity at the nozzle throat; the remainder is developed in the nozzle expansion cone.  

Nozzles are usually designed to control the expansion in such a manner that range or payload of the total vehicle is maximized within envelope, weight, and cost constraints.  The nozzle is thus an integral part of a larger system, and aerodynamic, thermodynamic, structural, and fabrication considerations must be taken into account for a good design.

This document shows how nozzles are built without overdesign or underdesign, and withmaximum contribution to total vehicle performance.   It takes you through the design process, moving through to a final product of optimal design.  You'll learn how the gas-contacting surfaces are configured to prdouce the required performance, how thermal liners and insulators are selected and configured to maintain surfaces against erosion and limit structural temperature, and how structural materials are selected and configured.

Emphasis is placed on nozzle design and materials for modern high-temperature (> 5500ºF) aluminized propellants; nozzles for older, low-energy propellants are gien less attention.  Special design considerations for thrust vector control (TVC) are also presented.

The study gives particular attention to recurring nozzle design problems:

  • Graphite cracking and ejection
  • Differential erosion at material interfaces
  • Uncertainty of adhesive bonding
  • Inadequate definition of material properties at high temperature
The text includes all the necessary mathematical equations and formulae used in the design process, and includes a versatile thrust coefficient (Cf) graph.  Organizes and presents the experience and knowledge accumulated in development and operational programs to date.  Reviews and assesses current design practices, and establishes guidance for more reliable end products. 

This text offers a  complete education in the design of high-performance solid rocket nozzles, from the basics to very advanced aspects of the art.  It's a very practical guide, well-illustrated with excellent engineering drawings that explain each design.  Tables and charts provide abundant technical specifications and data for many rocket and missile engines, including:

  • Condor
  • Sidewinder
  • Phoenix
  • Sparrow
  • Surveyor Retro
  • Polaris
  • Pershing
  • Minuteman
  • Poseidon
  • 260 SL-1 and SL-3 (5,884,000 lbf thrust!)
Covers all the important nozzle materials, including:
  • Reinforced plastics
  • Polycrystalline graphite
  • Pyrolytic graphite
  • Pyrolytic graphite codeposited with silicon carbide
  • Tungsten and other refractory metals
  • Carbon/carbon composites
  • Ceramics


  • Nozzle Design Requirements and Constraints
  • Nozzle Configuration and Construction
  • Aerodynamic Design
    • Entrance
    • Throat Region
    • Exit
  • Thermal Design
    • Throat Insert
    • Thermal Liner and Insulator
      • Liner Materials
      • Insulator Materials
  • Structural and Mechanical Design
    • Basic Nozzle Structure
    • Structural Materials
    • Adhesives, Sealants, and Seals
    • Attached TVC System
    • Movable-Nozzle TVC System
    • Nozzle-to-Chamber Attachment
    • Nozzle Closure
  • Nozzle Analysis
    • Aerothermal Analysis
      • Thermochemical Analysis
      • Transport-Property Analysis
      • Theoretical Aerodynamic Analysis
        • Inviscid Flow Field
        • Viscous Flow Field
      • Experimental Aerodynamic Analysis
      • Theoretical Thermal Analysis
        • Heat Transfer
        • Material Response
      • Experimental Thermal Analysis
    • Structural Analysis
  • Nozzle Quality Assurance

Until the time of this publication, much of the information and details given were classified "SECRET."

A superb reference resource for every serious amateur and experimental rocket scientist, engineer, technician, and mechanic.  Much of this information is also useful for design of hybrid and monopropellant rocket engines.

Very hard to find and now out-of-print, this new limited edition has been republished by the Rocket Science Institute.  It's printed directly from a NASA digital document file, with a high-resolution laser printer on high-quality, bright-white, acid-free paper and quality bound for years of reference use.  141 pages, 63 drawings and illustrations, large and easy-to-read 11" x 8-1/2" size.  $24.95

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