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Advanced hybrid graphitic materials for enhanced energetic applications


OBJECTIVE: To develop materials with superior energetic properties than the current state-of-the-art by utilizing advanced hybrid graphitic materials known for their remarkably high thermal conductivities. DESCRIPTION: Due to their remarkable mechanical, electrical and thermal properties, highly ordered graphitic systems such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene have generated substantial interest and investment from the academic, commercial and military R & D communities. Graphene and its derivatives offer the promise to enable the next generation of military technology from flexible body armor to tunable transistor devices and recent advancements in propellant research have demonstrated these materials"potential for enhanced energetic applications. It has been demonstrated in the literature that functionalized graphene sheets (FGS) in a colloidal suspension mixed with fuels such as nitromethane (NM) have resulted in enhanced burning rates in parallel with reduced ignition delays. PHASE I: Phase I will begin with a feasibility study on the incorporation of graphene (pristine, doped, functionalized) into a double-base (containing nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine) propellant formulation containing no more than 10% graphene. A material analysis will be performed to determine that the graphene maintains its highly ordered configuration within the propellant with minimal agglomeration. In either the closed-bomb or strand-burner test the graphene containing propellant shall achieve a 10% (threshold) or 20% (objective) increase in performance over a graphite containing propellant. The graphene propellant formulation shall also improve or maintain basic sensitivity in terms of impact, friction and electrostatic discharge against the graphite propellant formulation. PHASE II: In phase II it will be demonstrated that the process for producing the graphene propellant formulation will be scalable and that the material properties meet the objective requirements from phase I. One kilogram of material shall be delivered to ARDEC for testing. The process of graphene dispersion into the double-base propellant shall be transferred to ARDEC for prototyping and pilot-plant work. PHASE III: In phase III the technology shall be transferred to a prime contractor or the contractor shall demonstrate scale up and manufacturing capability. The graphene propellant formulations shall be integrated into military weapons platforms identified in governmental testing performed in phase II. Extension of the work to the private sector will have commercial applications for the automotive, space and mining industries. REFERENCES: 1.) J.L. Sabourin et. al. Functionalized Graphene Sheet Colloids for Enhanced Fuel/Propellant Combustion, ACS Nano 3 3945 (2009) 2.) M. Smeu et. al. Energetic Molecules Encapsulated Inside Carbon Nanotubes and between Graphene Layers: DFT Calculations, J. Phys. Chem. C 115 10985 (2011) 3.) H. Abou-Rachid et. al. Nanoscale High Energetic Materials: A polymeric Nitrogen Chain N8 Confined Inside a Carbon Nanotube, Phys. Rev. Lett. 100 196401 (2008)
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