A model of AP/HTPB composite propellant combustion in rocket-motor environments

Weidong Cai, Piyush Thakre, Vigor Yang

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A comprehensive theoretical/numerical model for treating AP/HTPB composite-propellant combustion in a rocket-motor environment is presented. The formulation takes into account the conservation equations in both the gas and condensed phases, and accommodates finite-rate chemical kinetics and variable thermophysical properties. The processes in the two phases are coupled at the surface to determine the propellant burning behavior. An asymptotic analysis based on a large activation-energy approximation for the condensed-phase decomposition is applied to help resolve the combustion wave structure in the interfacial layer. A simplified global reaction is employed to characterize the final diffusion flame between the decomposition products of AP and the pyrolysis products of HTPB. Only laminar flows are considered here, to avoid complications arising from turbulence. A detailed parametric study is conducted on the gas-phase flame structures of AP/HTPB composite propellants. The dependence of burning rate, flame stand-off distance, and heat-release distribution on AP particle size, chamber pressure, and gas-phase reaction rates is studied systematically. The phenomenon of erosive burning due to the strong crossflow in a rocket-motor environment is also examined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2143-2169
Number of pages27
JournalCombustion science and technology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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