University of Twente Student Theses


Non-destructive testing of solid propellant rocket motors

Beugels, F (2018) Non-destructive testing of solid propellant rocket motors.

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Abstract:A lot of missiles used by the armed forces have a solid propellant rocket motor. The ageing of this solid propellant is an oxidative crosslinking process. This process starts and propagates from the free surface of the propellant material and forms a deteriorated layer. Solid propellant missiles are used in all parts of the armed forces, this means that missiles are subjected to a wide range of handling, storage and deployment conditions. Assessment of the condition of the propellant is done on a random sample from the batch and at the moment there is no non-destructive method to assess material properties of the ageing propellant. This means expensive weapon systems are sacrificed and conclusions about the state of the material are drawn from a small number of assessed rocket motors. This thesis investigates possibilities for vibration based non-destructive testing methods for characterizing ageing in solid propellant material and zooms in on one promising method: ultrasonic testing. The remainder of the study consists of a feasibility study on the use of ultrasound for characterizing ageing in solid propellant material. Samples of inert HTPB (hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene) based propellant are aged and experiments are conducted to research the effects of ageing on the ultrasonic signal, the frequency content of the pulses and the sound velocity. Although an expected reflection off the interface between pristine and aged material is not observed, it is found that an increase in sound velocity is measurable, which indicates a rise in Young’s modulus of the material. This suggests that ultrasound is a promising technique for assessing the ageing of solid propellant.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
TNO, Rijswijk, Nederland
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:50 technical science in general, 52 mechanical engineering
Programme:Mechanical Engineering MSc (60439)
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