High Density Impulse Propellants
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340 East Church Road, King of Prussia, PA, 19406
AbstractSolid propellants with significantly higher density impulse versus conventional aluminum propellants can be prepared utilizing zirconium metal fuel. This has been independently demonstrated by several investigators including Atlantic Research Corporation,a commercial propellant manufacturer. The extreme electrostatic discharge (ESD) sensitivity of zirconium metal has prevented its use in high density impulse propellants.In a Phase I program, MACH I demonstrated the feasibility of a surface passivation technology for zirconium. Zirconium ESD sensitivity was dramatically improved from 0.00025 to safe levels of greater than 0.02 joules. Since this technology involvesforming a surface intermetallic with aluminum, there should not be a significant impact on reactivity or density impulse. We are proposing a Phase II program to optimize and commercialize the passivated zirconium production process and high densityimpulse zirconium propellants. Atlantic Research Corp. would be a subcontractor to MACH I testing reactivity and other propellant properties. Approximately 150 pounds of the passivated zirconium would be produced to supply the propellant developmentprogram. Zr Energy, a domestic producer of zirconium has committed to supply materials to this program, assist in passivated zirconium process development and scale up, and establish pilot plant production at their Phoenix AZ plant.
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