Thermite Igniters

Around 2003, my friend Darren started using Copper Oxide-based thermite to ignite rocket motors, and it worked really well – many LCOs commented that the rocket was up the rail before their finger bottomed out on the launch button. After searching the literature in depth, we couldn't find anything relating to this ignition method directly, so we decided to run a few experiments to attempt to quantify what, exactly, was going on. We developed a sizing model from some basic ignition theories and then used that to size various igniters for 3-grain 54mm motors in various port configurations.


Journal of Propulsion and Power: CuO Al Thermites for Solid Rocket Motor Ignition