47th Joint Propulsion Conference

At the 47th JPC, I presented two talks – one on the use of mechanically activated (i.e., nanostructured) composite nickel-aluminum particles as a solid propellant fuel, and one on the work I did with my friend Darren Wright on CuO/Al thermite igniters for solid rocket motors. Both were quite well received by the audiences in attendance.

The nickel-aluminum propellant work presented here inspired several related spinoffs in aluminum combustion technology at our lab, some of which are currently being evaluated by industry for widespread adoption. (For a discussion of the challenges of aluminum combustion in solid rocket motors, see Bob Geisler's excellent and hilarious paper.)

Darren's thermite system was first tested at Higgs Farm in Maryland in 2004, and the success was published in the MDRA Report. I helped him characterize it fully and develop an appropriate sizing model for it. After this talk, the paper was accepted for publication in the Journal of Propulsion and Power.


Intermetallic Compounds as Fuels for Composite Rocket Propellants

CuO Al Igniters for Solid Rocket Motor Ignition