NG-Free Double Base Propellant
This work was spawned as an extension of a Phase I small business innovation research (SBIR) grant. Existing double base propellants are somewhat formulation limited, because one of their major energetic ingredients (nitroglycerin) is a liquid. Nitroglycerin also has a nasty habit of migrating to the propellant surface, forming highly sensitive crystals. With the advent of a new nitrate ester discovered by Drs. Dave Chavez, Mike Hiskey, Darren Naud, and Damon Parrish at Los Alamos in 2008, we saw an opportunity to reformulate and simultaneously improve performance and safety. The new compound, colloquially termed SMX, has lots of oxygen and has a high density, making it a potentially excellent choice for propellants. This paper describes the formulation, mixing, and characterization of one such compound.