Solid Rocket Motor Propellant Characterization and Material Reconstruction Using High Resolution Tomography
We propose to enhance and commercialize software tools for imaging and three-dimensional reconstruction of as-produced propellant grains from micro-tomographic volume-imaging techniques; computational tools that model the morphology of the propellant grain, including first-, second-, and third-order statistics; and computational tools that determine local material properties, including elastic modulus, thermal conductivity, and coefficients of thermal expansion. Tentatively named TOMOPROP (Tomography-based Prediction of Material Properties), these tools will be validated by comparison with experimental data. The new product includes implementation of generically shaped particle models and process/product implementation for aluminized and non-aluminized propellants. The SBIR Phase I program brought together IllinoisRocstar LLC and the University of Illinois to explore the feasibility of the tomography to morphology to material property methodology. The Phase I assessment was highly successful and produced results that clearly demonstrate feasibility of the approach. The results strongly suggest a process and product that can be commercialized for DoD, NASA, the U.S. solid rocket companies, as well as other non-military commercial organizations. Phase II will advance the engineering and underlying applied science, and should accelerate the technology to commercial readiness.
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