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Experimental characterization of plasma effects on energetic materials for electrothermal-chemical launch applications

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6 Author(s)
Katulka, G.L. ; Weapons & Mater. Res. Directorate, US Army Res. Lab., Aberdeen Proving Groud, MD, USA ; White, K.J. ; Oberle, W.F. ; Kaste, P.
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Energetic electrical plasmas play a fundamental role in the electrothermal-chemical (ETC) propulsion concept, where they are used to provide energy conversion from an electrical power source to the combustion chamber of an ETC launcher. Recent research in the areas of large-caliber ETC gun experiments as well as small-scale plasma experiments have demonstrated the ability to alter the propellant combustion process and the chemical or physical properties of propellant samples exposed to energetic electrical plasmas. Such results have warranted continued investigations into the underlying processes involved in propellant and plasma interactions, specifically in the behavior of exposed propellant samples to plasmas operating at varying degrees of electrical power. Experimental characterization has been performed with various samples of energetic materials including JA2, CL20, RDX, M9, M30, M43, KELP, and BAMO-AMMO (BA), which were allowed to interact with plasmas having different electrical power levels. The plasma power level ranged from 60 MW to a maximum of 264 MW, and total energy transferred to the plasma capillary ranged from 17 to 70 kJ. Propellant samples were analyzed using a Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) technique, which was used to determine the effects of plasma exposure on the energetic materials. Preliminary results from the experiments indicate that some propellant formulations are easily altered (either chemically or physically) or ignited by a plasma while others are less sensitive to the plasma exposure. In addition, the effects of the plasma are found to be minimized with the introduction of protective films even for plasmas of high power and energy levels

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Magnetics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:35 ,  Issue: 1 )