This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Development of an Optically Accessible High-Pressure Strand Burner and the Experimental Determination of the Burn Rate of High Temperature Thermally Degraded HTPB/AP/AL Solid Propellant Combustion




Phillips, Matthew

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Aerospace Engineering

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



This thesis presents initial findings from solid propellant experiments using thermally degraded hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene, ammonium perchlorate, and aluminum powder propellants. Currently, a better understanding of the burning characteristics of solid propellants when aged or thermally damaged using a high temperature degradation technique is needed. Past research investigated the effects of thermal aging while other studies focused on low temperature degradation of propellants. However, these approaches to gaining a holistic understanding of the burning characteristic of solid propellants has fallen short of a complete understanding of the effects of thermal aging on the burn characteristics of propellants. This research focused on measuring the burn rate of solid propellants with short time exposure to high temperatures to simulate a propellant being near a fire for a short time. Propellant samples were mixed and cured in-house using classical techniques. The propellant samples were thermally degraded in a laboratory oven at 538 K for 5 minutes. The samples were burned in an optically accessible, high pressure strand burner facility. For the study, data was acquired using high speed imaging. The burning line in the images was found using a novel MATLAB edge detection technique and a manual edge detection technique in MATLAB. The general results offer evidence that thermally degraded propellant samples resulted in higher burn rates with inconsistent burning.