Characterization of aging behavior of butacene® based composite propellants by loss factor curves
Butacene® is a polymeric binder with ferrocenyl groups chemically bonded to HTPB backbone. Through incorporation in the AP−Al composite propellant formulation, it leads to high burning rates (BR) >20 mm/s at 7 MPa, and low pressure exponents n<0.5, allowing more flexibility to the rocket design, keeping the characteristics (process, mechanical properties, pot-life) of HTPB binder formulations together with a lower vulnerability (IM) contribution by Butacene®. The key molecular level characteristic of such HTPB based elastomeric binder systems of solid composite rocket propellants (SCRP) is the glass-rubber transition region, which is mainly defined by the molecular mobility of the components in the polymeric network during the transition from energy to entropy elasticity with respect to temperature. The molecular rearrangement regions or binder mobility fractions related to the glass-rubber transition of such composite propellants during storage are important in terms of in-service time estimations. They are detectable by dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA). Formulations with and without Butacene® were prepared and analyzed using the loss factor curves obtained by torsion DMA. A special modelling with so named Exponentially Modified Gaussian (EMG) distribution was used to define and quantify sub-transition regions in the loss factor curve. SEM images revealed the network formation connected with AP bonding, which correlate to the tensile results. DMA loss factors revealed a strong oxidation with Butacene® containing formulations during aging. Burning rates of the formulations show slight increases with aging.