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Performance evaluation of commercial copper chromites as burning rate catalyst for solid propellants

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Author(s): Eunice Aparecida Campos | Rita de Cássia L. Dutra | Luis Cláudio Rezende | Milton Faria Diniz | Wilma Massae Dio Nawa | Koshun Iha

Journal: Journal of Aerospace Technology and Management
ISSN 1984-9648

Volume: 2;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 323;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Copper chromite | Composite propellant | BET | Burning rate catalyst

ABSTRACT
Copper chromites are well known as burning rate catalysts for the combustion of composite solid propellants, used as a source of energy for rocket propulsion. The propellant burning rate depends upon the catalyst characteristics such as chemical composition and specific surface area. In this work, copper chromite samples from different suppliers were characterized by chemical analysis, FT-IR spectroscopy and by surface area measurement (BET). The samples were then evaluated as burning rate catalyst in a typical composite propellant formulation based on HTPB binder, ammonium perchlorate and aluminum. The obtained surface area values are very close to those informed by the catalyst suppliers. The propellant processing as well as its mechanical properties were not substantially affected by the type of catalyst. Some copper chromite catalysts caused an increase in the propellant burning rate in comparison to the iron oxide catalyst. The results show that in addition to the surface area, other parameters like chemical composition, crystalline structure and the presence of impurities might be affecting the catalyst performance. All evaluated copper chromite samples may be used as burning rate catalyst in composite solid propellant formulations, with slight advantages for the SX14, Cu-0202P and Cu-1800P samples, which led to the highest burning rate propellants.
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