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Micro-morphological studies of gun propellant materials

: Böhnlein-Mauß, J.

Fraunhofer-Institut für Chemische Technologie -ICT-, Pfinztal:
Energetic Materials. Characterization and Modeling of Ignition Process, Reaction Behavior and Performance : 44th International Annual Conference of ICT, June 25 - 28, 2013, Karlsruhe, Germany; Proceedings
Pfinztal: Fraunhofer ICT, 2013
Fraunhofer-Institut für Chemische Technologie (International Annual Conference) <44, 2013, Karlsruhe>
Fraunhofer ICT ()

In this paper the results of the investigations of different gun propellants by microscopic techniques are shown. Polarized light microscopy enables to structural investigations, crystalline areas appear as bright zones in the photographies.
Gun propellants consist of different ingredients e.g. like nitrocellulose, plasticizers, stabilizers and others. An appropriate plasticizer forms together with the nitrocellulose a gel. This process of gelation may be supported by using a good solvent for nitrocellulose during the manufacturing process.
The interaction between nitrocellulose and plasticiser can be studied by polarised light microscopy. As pure material nitrocellulose has a fibrous structure and shows some crystalline areas. If a gel is formed consisting of nitrocellulose and an appropriate plasticizer then the material will get amorphous. At ICT there were investigated different gun propellants by polarized light microscopy. Therefore the samples were cut in very small slices (5 - 10 µm) and than put under the microscope. The magnification lies in the region of 1 to 1000 µm. In the following pictures there are shown some results by investigating different gun propellants. The fibrous crystalline structure of the (not gelled) nitrocellulose can be still seen to some extent in all cases.