Safe and Flexible Propulsion Technologies for Kinetic Energy Boost Phase Intercept Applications

Award Information
Department of Defense
Solitcitation Year:
Solicitation Number:
Missile Defense Agency
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Small Business Information
1217 Smithfield Street, State College, PA, 16801
Hubzone Owned:
Woman Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Principal Investigator
 Kenneth Kuo
 (814) 238-6989
Business Contact
 Olivia Kuo
Title: Vice President
Phone: (814) 238-6989
Research Institution
The objective of this proposal is the development of a candidate bi-propellant system consisting of a fuel-rich component gelled with energetic nano-sized particles coupled with a highly energetic storable liquid oxidizer for kinetic energy interceptor applications. Theoretical calculations indicate this innovative combination can meet MDA's propulsion requirements for both upper stage and DACS applications. Bi-propellant components will be chosen to yield "green" propellants of low toxicity. Liquid/gel bi-propellant systems have a number of advantages over solid propellant or liquid monopropellant systems, including safety, flexibility, thrust controllability, high performance, etc. To increase the energy density of a liquid propellant over that of nitrogen tetroxide/monomethyl hydrazine combination, an energetic additive such as a fine powder (e.g. boron, boron carbide, and aluminum) will be used as a gelling agent for the fuel-rich propellant. Recent advances in nano-sized energetic material synthesis and gel propellant technology provide a new dimension in propellant formulation. Densification of the propellant through the addition of energetic powders also allows for higher thrust levels (and hence high-g divert capability) in volume-limited propulsion systems. Alternative oxidizers including high concentration hydrogen peroxide, hydroxylammonium perchlorate, and others will be evaluated. Combustion performance of selected candidates will be experimentally verified in rocket engine tests. After the demonstration and verification of the superior performance of the preliminarily formulated high-energy bi-propellants with nano-sized energetic powders by the Phase I study, development of more complete families of energetic bi-propellants will be conducted in subsequent phases. Also, a larger scale rocket engine will be designed and fabricated for bi-propellant combustion tests for the KE interceptor application. In Phase II, detailed characterization of density impulses, combustion efficiencies, ignition behavior, and combustion stability of selected energetic bi-propellants will be conducted using state-of-the-art diagnostic instruments and facilities. The mechanical and safety behavior of these newly formulated propellants will also be characterized. When these newly formulated bi-propellants are brought to the commercially usable state at the end of Phase II, there will be broad applications in other combustion and propulsion systems. Once the high performance of these energetic materials are demonstrated, the proposer will use his broad contacts with numerous industrial companies involved in bi-propellant manufacturing, space propulsion, and safety device design and fabrication. Dr. Kuo has many former students and colleagues who work at these companies. These companies include: ATK-Thiokol Propulsion., Alliant TechSystem, Inc., United Technology - CSD, Atlantic Research Corporation, Talley Defense Systems, Lockheed Martin, Boeing Aerospace, North American Rocketdyne, General Dynamics, etc. Many of these companies will be interested in using high-performance bi-propellants for various commercial applications besides the military usage, for example: - airbag inflators for automobiles, - emergency escape systems for aircrafts, - underwater propulsion, - high-pressure water jet for cutting explosives, cheeses, steel pipes, - demolition of unwanted structures such as buildings, bridges, towers, etc., and - high-performance space propulsion rockets for space exploration. The information to be obtained and the technology to be developed from this project will be transferred to Navy and other military entities and to the commercial market. In Phase III, CPBT Corporation plans to market several potentially useful bi-propellants for both commercial and military applications. The major parts of technical obstacles to be overcome in order to bring the new technology to later phase commercialization are addressed in the feasibility study to be demonstrated in Phase I. In Phase II, besides technical development, collaborative agreements between the CPBT Corporation and several major industrial companies and government labs will be established in the utilization of the newly developed bi-propellants for KE interceptor design and fabrication. Technology transfer to government labs and industrial companies will be conducted not only at the end of the project, but also during the course of the Phase I study. The method for technology transfer will take a number of forms, including: interim progress reports and final report, presentations of research skills and results at the JANNAF combustion and propulsion meetings, AIAA Joint Propulsion Meetings, Aerospace Sciences Meetings, MRL Symposia, special workshops to be organized by the sponsor or the Principal Investigator of CPBT Corporation, and visits of DoD or industrial personnel to PSU and CPBT for discussion or testing.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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