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Novel Alternative Energetic Propellants for Space Propulsion

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2009 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
706 ASHTON LN N CHAMPAIGN, IL 61820-7303
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2009
Title: Novel Alternative Energetic Propellants for Space Propulsion
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: FA9550-09-C-0176
Award Amount: $225,000.00


We propose a comprehensive computational and experimental program to investigate the characteristics and dynamic behavior of novel energetic propellants for space propulsion. Several classes of advanced propellants will be considered. These include "green" propellants (no chlorine) such as GAP/ADN with and without nanostructured fuel additives, nanoscale aluminum and ice propellant, and a novel method for including nano-aluminum by the encapsulation of nanoscale fuels in oxidizer crystals. For the experimental portion, we plan to (i) use the mixing facility at Purdue University to prepare appropriate propellant samples, thus allowing for a full characterization of the propellant (composition; particle size distribution) necessary for a coordinated modeling and experimental program; and (ii) carry out both steady and unsteady experiments to fully characterize the propellants. The experiments will also be used for model calibration and for validation. We will develop novel propellants systems guided by the computational predictions performed by IllinoisRocstar. For the computational portion of the proposed work, we plan to (i) use an IllinoisRocstar packing code to generate morphologies of interest for the novel energetic propellants formulated at Purdue; and (ii) modify the CFD code to include appropriate models for chemistry needed for burn rate calculations. BENEFIT: Successful completion of this project will see the development of new "green" alternative propellants, and the implementation and validation of the simulation software for utilization in characterizing the dynamic behavior of energetic solid propellants at rocket motor conditions. A cutting-edge industry in energetic materials (and increasingly on IM) is vital to our national interest, and modern scientifically based design tools are vital in keeping this edge sharp. Analytical and consulting services will be available based on new Rocstar modules at the end of Phase II. We envision capabilities to include prediction of novel propellant performance (burn rates, Isp, etc.), as well as processing properties for "green" and nanoparticulate propellants and encapsulated fuels. There is a large potential customer base for these products (and their successors). For nano-scale propellants, these include the sponsoring DoD component (USAF), a wide group of other DoD R&D agencies involved in solid propellant rockets, and the nation's solid propellant and energetics companies. Nano-scale encapsulated fuels have an even wider potential customer base, including the DoD components, aerospace and ground transportation companies, energy production and distribution firms, etc.

Principal Investigator:

Thomas L. Jackson
Chief Scientist

Business Contact:

William A. Dick
Chief Executive Officer
Small Business Information at Submission:

IllinoisRocstar LLC
P. O. Box 3001 Champaign, IL 61826

EIN/Tax ID: 208533123
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
Purdue University
155 South Grant
West Lafayette, IN 47907
Contact: Purdue University
Contact Phone: (765) 494-1078
RI Type: Nonprofit college or university