AIAA 2003-4592

39th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit
20-23 July 2003, Huntsville, Alabama

Propulsion Conference and Exhibit
20 – 23 July 2003
Huntsville, AL

Instantaneous Regression Rate Determination of a Cylindrical X-Ray Transparent Hybrid
Rocket Motor

Brian Evans*, Grant A. Risha , Nick Favorito , Eric Boyer , Robert B. Wehrman , Natan Libis§, and
Kenneth K. Kuo¶
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802
The determination of the solid fuel regression rate is one of the key steps in hybrid rocket combustion studies.
Historically, there is lack of direct regression rate measurements for validation of theoretical models. In practice
most mass-burning rates were determined by the net burned mass divided by the test duration that yields an average
rate. However, this method does not capture the instantaneous regression behavior. To achieve this, a newly
designed X-Ray Transparent Center-perforated (XTC) hybrid rocket motor system has been fabricated and tested to
provide the ability to measure the instantaneous solid fuel regression rate using a high-powered real-time X-ray
radiography system. Tests have been conducted using hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) as the baseline
solid-fuel formulation. The solid-fuel regression rate can be enhanced by the addition of energetic metal powders.
Tests have been conducted using a 13% Silberline aluminum flakes solid fuel formulation in order to evaluate a
metalized fuel with the X-ray radiography system. The capability of the visual analysis system to capture
instantaneous X-ray radiography images has been demonstrated. Time variations of port dimensions have shown
good comparison with calculated regression results from developed numerical code. Differences in recovered fuel
burning surfaces were observed from SEM photographs. Large surface roughness, exhibited on the burned surfaces
of fuels containing nano-sized aluminum particles, indicates high potential for introducing stronger heat feedback to
substrate of solid-fuel and enhance burning rate.
A traditional hybrid rocket motor employs a
solid-fuel grain with a gaseous, liquid or gel oxidizer
injected at the head end of the motor. Hybrid rockets
posses many advantages over conventional solid- or
liquid-propellant engines including on/off capability,
improved operability of motor performance, minimal
environmental impact, and also an inherent safety.1,2
The inherent safety of hybrid rockets is due to the
separation of the fuel and oxidizer physically and also
by phase. For hybrid rockets, the combustion of solid
fuels can be controlled by the supply rate of oxidizer to
the combustion chamber. The rate-limiting process of
the combustion of hybrid rockets is the mixing and
combustion of the fuel grain pyrolysis products with the
oxidizer flowing through the center port of the solidfuel grain.3,4,5 Correlations between the instantaneous
linear regression rate and the instantaneous oxidizer
mass flux are unavailable and most investigations

address the dependency of the averaged linear
regression rates on averaged oxidizer mass fluxes
supplied to the rocket motors. The instantaneous
regression rate of the solid fuel in a hybrid rocket motor
could differ significantly from the averaged value. It is
highly desirable to have the capability for measuring
the instantaneous fuel regression rate as a function of
time and position. One of the objectives for this paper
is to develop an X-Ray Transparent Center-perforated
(XTC) hybrid rocket motor system. Using the XTC
hybrid rocket motor allows correlations to be
established that describe the regression behavior of
various solid fuels burning under different operating
One of the disadvantages of the existing HTPBbased solid fuels is the relatively low mass burning rate,
requiring a relatively large fuel burning surface area for

* M.S. Student, AIAA Member
Ph.D. Candidate, AIAA Student Member

Undergraduate Assistant
Visiting Scholar

Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Fellow AIAA

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Copyright © 2003 by Brian J. Evans, Grant A. Risha, Nick Favorito, Eric Boyer, Robert B. Wehrman, Natan Libis, and Kenneth K. Kuo. . Published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and

Figure 1 shows a photograph of the XTC test rig installed on the test deck with major motor components noted.9 has evaluated 19 different fuel formulations using a LongGrain Center-Perforated (LGCP) hybrid rocket motor.7 A previous study conducted by Risha. et al. The test facilities enable the use of various oxidizers that can be gaseous. Specific design objectives for the motor design include: 1.10 used a small low-pressure slab motor with optical viewing ports to determine both the instantaneous and also the average regression rates. In addition to studying the benefits of addition of various nano-sized energetic particles.12 to experimentally find average regression rates of various solid fuel formulations containing different types of nano-sized energetic particles. research will also focus on the effect of various oxidizers as well in hopes of finding an optimum fuel/oxidizer combination. known as the Long Grain Center Perforated (LGCP) hybrid rocket motor. In order to obtain the maximum amount of information from limited supplies of experimental materials.) and their effect on combustion. Both ultrasound pulse-echo system and a real-time X-ray radiography system were employed to make instantaneous measurements at several axial locations along the fuel surface. has provided much useful information as to the effects of various energetic additives.14 have used other methods involving a convective flow to measure the ablation rates of various solid fuels. Lengelle. Chiaverini. particle size distribution. et al. Method of Approach Motor Component Design The design of the X-Ray Transparent Centerperforated (XTC) hybrid rocket motor was based upon the design strategies of its predecessor. Comparisons between these two motors with different geometric sizes can help us to assess any scaling effects that are present. The ultrasound technique was also used by Russo Sorge. et al. an X-ray transparent lab-scale hybrid motor has been designed to allow the testing and characterization of various fuels and additives in a hybrid rocket system. current research is focused on understanding the effects of the addition of energetic particles with two main focuses: • Material characterization to analyze physical properties (eg. Using energetic nanosized powder additives. a number of unique features have been implemented.6.8. percent oxide vs.13 and Risha. Center-perforated grain to simplify casting and simulate real motor port. Strand. and 5. 4. In order to enable X-rays to pass through the motor without significant attenuation. but in a cylindrical center perforated grain. liquid. In addition to continued combustion studies of energetic additives.producing a given thrust level. a comparison of similar fuel formulations can be made between them. the instantaneous regression rate of the various solidfuel formulations can be measured as a function of time and axial location. developed by various manufacturers. et al. The energetic additives that have shown the greatest increase in mass-burning rate performance have been selected for further study using the XTC hybrid rocket motor. 2. The predecessor to the XTC hybrid rocket motor. et al. Capability for instantaneous thrust measurements for performance evaluation. active content. With the XTC and the LGCP hybrid rocket motors (both capable of being operated with minimal transition and turn-around time). etc. 3. the LGCP hybrid rocket motor. to evaluate the performance enhancement when energetic particles are used in solid-fuel formulations.11 to determine the regression rate at a single axial location.12 Based on the findings of the LGCP. With the capability of real-time X-ray radiography. The test facility is also capable of heating the gaseous oxidizers to elevated temperatures for simulating a ramjet combustion process. Objective of Research In the current study. The regression rate can then be correlated to the instantaneous oxidizer mass flux as a function of time and position. via instantaneous linear regression rate determination. • Experimental combustion research. Cartridge loading of the solid-fuel grain to facilitate motor assembly and achieve rapid turn-around for test firings. Various techniques have been adopted in recent studies to deduce the instantaneous regression rate of solid fuel. a parallel material characterization study has been conducted in order to further understand which physical properties of energetic particles are important to the combustion of solid fuels containing these energetic additives. A cylindrical grain has also been utilized in a small motor in previous studies at PSU by Risha et al. X-ray transparent case to allow instantaneous measurements to be made over entire motor operation.2 used a similar slab configuration but with a larger rocket motor and higher steady-state chamber pressure. Flexible oxidizer system to allow the use of either gaseous or liquid oxidizers. the motor casing has been designed from thick walled 2 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics . or gelled materials. et al. this disadvantage can be alleviated.

The new design provides several desirable capabilities such as: 1) ability to change injector to swirl.86 MPa Max.6 MPa (5. The tubular reactor has a working volume greater than needed and a working pressure rating of 34.72 MPa Both the solid fuel paper phenolic cartridge and the diagnostic assembly successfully passed the hydrostatic pressure tests conducted up to 2.42 kg/s. An existing water-cooled nozzle can be directly mounted onto the XTC motor to provide cooling of the nozzle during the experiment. This time is longer then the anticipated test time and allows for sufficient oxidizer to assure steady flow in the feed lines throughout the test. Safety and Health Pressure Vessel and System Design documentation used by Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL)15. based on this information a piston tubular series reactor from High Pressure Equipment Company (HiP) was selected that allowed for the needed volume of the oxidizer and operating pressure. 700 psig = 18.700 psig. In contrast to the LGCP motor that employs a stainless steel chamber. annular. which is commercially available. This selection is based upon the operating conditions of the experiment. Since the XTC motor grain is new. A volume of approximately 4. In order to study the effects of various liquid oxidizers on the combustion of solid-fuel formulations. Allowable Operating Pressure: PMAWP = PMOP 0.000 psig). instead of a traditional steel casing for the LGCP motor. The XTC motor is mounted on a precision linear guide platform allowing free axial movement during test firing and the instantaneous thrust can be measured using a 1000-lbf load cell.32 ∗ PMAWP = 2. and the hydrostatic test pressure are as follows: Max. Figure 1. 3 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics . Tungsten or other types of hightemperature metallic nozzles can be used instead of graphite nozzles.. impinging jet. using the newly developed diagnostic assemblies as shown below in Fig. The design equations for maximum operating pressure. Fine-wire thermocouples and ultrasonic devices can be installed in any axial locations along the solid fuel grain. This design makes it very easy to use different types of nozzles with little dismantling of the nozzle assembly.paper phenolic tubing. the components of any high pressure testing apparatus used in remote operation must be hydrostatically tested to at least 1.90 = 2. 2) various nozzle throat sizes to tailor the chamber pressure.25×PMAWP (maximum allowable working pressure).24 MPa Hydrostatic Test Pressure: PHYDRO = 1. Operating Pressure: PMOP = 1. 050 psig = 14. Photograph of the assembled XTC hybrid rocket motor Both ease of construction and simplicity of use were taken into account as part of the design process in order to allow quick fabrication of the rocket motor and rapid turn-around between static test firings. After the graphite nozzle is inserted into the nozzle plug. According to the Environmental. 850 psig = 12. Therefore. However. The injector face can also be quickly replaced if a different injection pattern is desired. This design also offers a maximum flexibility in operation and maintenance of the nozzles to be used in the experiments. a liquid-oxidizer feed system was designed and constructed. etc. the paper phenolic casing allows direct imaging using a real-time X-ray radiography system. The liquid oxidizer feed system was designed for a 10-second run of the XTC motor with mass fluxes up to 0. it is retained in place by a threaded retainer ring. The motor is equipped with two Setra pressure transducers to monitor the pressure near the oxidizer injector and the exit nozzle.2 liters was determined to be sufficient to accommodate for a 10-second test time. and 3) potential to install a watercooled nozzle to avoid nozzle erosion. each component was hydrostatically tested. the results covered in this paper are related to hybrid rocket operation using gaseous oxygen as the oxidizer. maximum allowable operating pressure. 2 in the XTC motor layout diagram.

5 mm (2. Silberline aluminum flakes. A high capacity variable-throat venturi with upstream pressure and temperature measurements was employed in the gaseous oxygen feed system in order to reach the desired mass flow rates. The HTPB was formulated using R45-M resin with Isonate 143L methylene diphenyl isocyanate (MDI) curing agent. The energetic additive that has shown the most improvement in performance is the Viton®-A coated Alex® with an increase of 120% in mass-burning rate and 123% increase in the average linear regression rate at an oxidizer mass flux of 112 kg/m2-s. Grains were cast in the paper phenolic tubes that have an outer diameter of 114. Further information pertaining to the exact process through which this is completed can be found in Reference 16. which include. The solid fuel was mixed following the same procedure for introducing particles into the resin and degassing. At this same oxidizer mass flux. Also the grains were cast utilizing a previously developed novel low-melting point wax mandrel process.42 kg/s can be obtained through the use of this venturi. respectively. From previous experiments using the LGCP motor. In order to compare results obtained from the XTC motor and the smaller LGCP motor. the solid fuel sample is named as SF7. which is sufficient for the desired oxidizer mass fluxes. The casting process for solid-fuel formulations for the XTC motor grain is similar to the predecessor. Flow rates of up to 0. For these candidates. Alex® powder without any coating has also proven to be a leading candidate. In addition to mass fluxes in this range.3 mm (4. 4 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics . the XTC motor has the capability to be operated at much higher fluxes.Head-end Closure Assembly Diagnostic Assembly Graphite Sleeve Graphite Sleeve Nozzle-end Closure Assembly Nozzle Assembly Injector Assembly Retainer Nozzle Retainer Paper Phenolic Cartridge Oxidizer Solid Fuel Load Cell Injector Face Injector Assembly Graphite Nozzle Injector Face Retainer Linear Guide Deck Support Linear Bearing Linear Guide Rod Support Figure 2. Since hybrid rocket motors have shown that the oxidizer mass flux is the dominant parameter on the linear regression rate with no discernable pressure effect8.17 to 4. When Silberline energetic nano-sized aluminum flakes were added for performance enhancement. XTC motor layout with major components noted XTC Hybrid Rocket Motor Test Setup The XTC hybrid rocket motor was used to burn solid-fuel formulations consisting of hydroxylterminated polybutadiene (HTPB) as the baseline solid fuel (SF1). Because of this. the chamber pressure has been selected to range from approximately 2. the range of oxidizer mass flux was determined and scaled accordingly so that the larger scale XTC motor had similar initial operating conditions. The LGCP motor has been used to evaluate 19 different fuel formulations. the steady-state chamber pressure of the XTC can be similar to or much greater then that of the LGCP while still maintaining approximately the same linear regression rate. From the results obtained from testing various nanosized particles with the LGCP motor a group of frontrunning candidates have been selected for continued investigation with the XTC motor. in order to create a centerperforated grain.5 inches) in lengths up to 457. which is similar to the range used for the LGCP and will allow for comparison in performance. Average mass-burning and linear-regression rates increased by 61% and 105%. Typical test durations for the XTC ranged from 5 to 7 seconds depending on the fuel formulation and the injected oxidizer mass flux. A number of other candidates exhibited significant performance increase compared to the baseline solid fuel HTPB.5 inches) and an inner diameter of 63. the LGCP. A complete list of fuel formulations with the additive type and percent by weight addition can be found in References 8 and 9.2 mm (18 inches).24 MPa (300 to 600 psig). oxidizer mass fluxes were controlled to range from approximately 80 to 140 kg/m2-s.

3 below. A video camera is setup off to the side of the image intensifier to capture the image while not being in line with the high-power X-ray beam to protect the camera electronics. Due to the fact that more (~3 to 4 times) energetic powder mass is needed to cast an XTC grain than the LGCP grain with the same percentage of additive loading. Calibration grain image with surface of fuel noted. If someone does breech this perimeter the X-ray system power supply will automatically cut off the Figure 4. For X-ray cinematography. 4). The X-rays are detected by a Hamamatsu 9”/6” image intensifier and captured by camera and recorded. Imaging the calibration grain with the X-ray system allowed the determination of the surface clarity from the image density gradient at the surface. Technanogies aluminum. Solid Fuel Surface Figure 3. X-ray imaging setup used with XTC hybrid rocket motor The X-ray radiography system employed in this study uses a Phillips 320 kV X-ray tube in conjunction with MGC 03 controller. The experimental setup of the XTC motor with the real-time X-ray radiography system in place is shown in Fig. the larger XTC motor grains were prepared for studying the combustion behavior in larger motor with detailed diagnostics. Attached to the image intensifier is a rightangle adapter that reflects the output image from the image intensifier. pure HTPB (tests XTC-01. an X-ray source is positioned adjacent to the XTC motor with an image intensifier on the opposite side of the test setup. Based on the LGCP motor results. When the interlock system is armed no one may enter the test cell in which the X-ray is being operated or into the fenced area surrounding the test cell. Two of the six test firings were run using the realtime X-ray radiography system to image the surface of 5 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics . Discussion of Results Six XTC hybrid rocket motor test firings were conducted with two different fuel formulations. Keeping the image intensifier as close to the motor as possible reduces the amount of X-ray scatter. Instantaneous Regression Rate Measurement Method The main feature of the XTC hybrid rocket motor is the capability to image the instantaneous surface of the regressing fuel grain using a real-time X-ray radiography system. XTC05). XTC-04. An alumunized fuel formulation was chosen since it would attenuate the largest amount of the signal. Images obtained from the X-ray system were analyzed to determine the location of the surface of the solid fuel as a function of time.Viton®-A coated Silberline aluminum flakes. which allows as sharp an image as possible. the LGCP motor has been used to evaluate the effectiveness of the nano-sized energetic additive. It was found that the gradient in image density at the surface was sufficient to distinguish the port from the surface of the fuel grain as shown in the calibration grain. as close to the motor as possible. In order to assure safe operation of the X-ray system an interlock system has been implemented. an average increase in linear regression rate of 60-70% was seen. XTC-03. Initial imaging was taken on a calibration grain (having a 13% Silberline aluminum flake composition) that was machined with precision steps cut into the solid fuel at known diameters (see Fig. During test firings. X-ray Source Blast Shield Image Intensifier power to the X-ray tube. The X-ray system has the capability to be operated in any one of three test cells within the lab. the regression of the surface can be determined at any instant in time and at any axial position. The addition of Viton®-A has proven to be beneficial in increasing the average mass burning and linear regression rates as cited by Reference 16. XTC-06) and 13% Silberline aluminum flakes (tests XTC-02.

6 including specific times corresponding to motor operating condition changes as given in Fig. The oxidizer flow began approximately 2 seconds prior to ignition in order to assure a steady flow in the feed line. 5. For test XTC-02. Figure 6. the initial oxidizer mass flux was 341 kg/m2-s with a final oxidizer mass flux of approximately 113 kg/m2-s yielding an average oxidizer mass flux of approximately 170 kg/m2-s based upon the time-averaged port area at the nozzle-end of the grain. All tests have been conducted using gaseous oxygen as the oxidizer with varying average oxidizer mass fluxes from 100 to 150 kg/m2-s.O Flow Off 2 2 2 1. Typical pressure-time profile using XTC rocket motor (XTC-02-SILBAL-13) The pressure decreases throughout the steady burn time of the grain.647 vs. 6 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Thrust [N] the solid-fuel grain. Comparison between the two sets of data shows agreement to within 6%. 5. onset of ignition.5 150 1 100 Ignition 0. the time t=0 corresponds to the onset of ignition. the chamber pressure raised sharply indicating successful ignition followed with gradual pressure decay. A maximum thrust level of this test was approximately 120 lbf (534 N) and the average thrust level was approximately 100 lbf (445 N). Test XTC-02 produced a consistent thrust level trace for the pressure-time profile that was obtained. 7. 0. The thrust trace for this test is given below in Fig. From Moody’s chart for pipe flows. Geometric scaling effects arise since the XTC fuel grains are approximately 3-times the size of it’s predecessor the LGCP grain.698) fits both sets of data as seen in Fig. The pressure-time trace from XTC-02-SILBAL-13 (SF7) is given in Fig. the larger XTC motor will demonstrate a smaller ratio of surface roughness to diameter (ε/D) assuming similar surface roughness between the LGCP and XTC motor. Shortly after the small pyrotechnic igniter is energized. Typical thrust-time profile using XTC rocket motor (XTC-02-SILBAL-13) Burning Rate Comparisons to LGCP Results One of the objectives of the XTC hybrid rocket motor was to study the effects of geometric scaling between the XTC and the smaller LGCP grain. . On this plot. From a simplistic qualitative point of view. heat loss to inert motor components. and initiation of nitrogen purge. it can be deduced that there will be a lower friction coefficient (f) and therefore a lower heat-transfer coefficient hc according to Reynolds analogy shown below: f 2 = St ⋅ Pr where 2 3 = Nu Pr ⋅ Re Pr 2 3 = hc ρ ⋅ u ⋅ cp Pr 2 3 ρ ⋅ u = Gtot = Gox + G fuel The resultant decrease in heat-transfer coefficient causes a slight decrease in solid-fuel regression rate that is seen with the XTC motor when compared to the data of the LGCP motor. A gradual decrease in the thrust is seen as the pressure decreases due to the increase in port area. Thorough investigation into the detailed cause of the regression rate difference will be required to facilitate an in-depth understanding of the physical phenomena involved. which is caused by the increase in port area that creates a decrease in oxidizer mass flux. Noted on the plot are the specific times corresponding to the initiation of oxidizer flow. as well as the influence of surface roughness and port geometry on turbulent kinetic energies distribution. These will include: curvature effects. Initial average burning rate results show that a power-law curve fit with very close values of exponents (0.5 O Flow On 2 0 0 -5 0 5 N Purge On 560 2 480 Thrust [lb ] 100 f 400 320 240 50 Ignition 160 O Flow On 2 80 0 0 0 5 10 Time [s] N Purge On 200 50 O Flow Off 2 250 640 -5 Chamber Pressure [MPa] Chamber Pressure [psig] 300 150 10 Time [s] Figure 5. oxidizer flow cutoff.

0 10. r [mm/s] understanding into the regression behavior at different locations of the grain.0 6.0401*(G b 0.698 LGCP Hybrid Rocket Motor 0.0541*(G b 1 0.9 0.ave [kg/m2-s])0.0 0. since the average linear regression rate is determined by the average of the port area at the nozzle end of the grain.0 8.5 2 ox.8 ox.0 9. Comparison of average regression rates for pure HTPB (SF1) grains in XTC and LGCP motors Oxidizer Flow Nozzle End of XTC Motor Instantaneous Regression Rate Determination Tests XTC-05-SILBAL-13 and XTC-06-HTPB100.ave XTC Hybrid Rocket Motor 70 80 90 100 Measurement Location 200 Average Oxidizer Mass Flux.0 1 14.0 2.7 [kg/m -s]) 0.0 4. 2 r [mm/s] = 0. Figure 8 shows an image captured from XTC-05-SILBAL-13 test firing. Captured image of the viewing section from XTC-05-SILBAL-13 test firing using a real-time X-ray radiography system Solid Fuel Port Radius [mm] 20.647 r [mm/s] = 0. G OX 2 [kg/m -s] Diagnostic Assembly Feedthrough Screw Figure 7. With continued testing other axial locations will be imaged to gain further Figure 8.0 10.0 2 16. Specific features are labeled in the image such as the diagnostic assembly feedthrough screw that housed a 25 µm fine-wire thermocouple. Comparison of measured and calculated time variations of port radius at nozzle-end of solid fuel grain 7 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics .0 6. Deduced From P-t Trace X-ray Image Data 4.0 1.0 3.0 12.0 5. were the first two tests to utilize the realtime X-ray radiography system.b Average Linear Regression Rate. Both tests obtained successful visual data allowing the determination of the instantaneous fuel surface.0 7.0 Time [s] Figure 9. A location near the nozzle was chosen for the measurement of the instantaneous regression rate.0 3 4 18. which used SF7 and SF1 formulations respectively.0 8.6 0.0 1 Deduced From Measured P-t Trace 2 Calculated Port Radius Variation Prediction 3 Final Port Radius-After Testing 4 Adapted LGCP Code.

9. At this oxidizer flux level almost zero throat erosion was noticed in the nozzle. which was specific for the test setup and material. the predicted or deduced results are generally in good agreement with the X-ray image data. These data were compared to the predicted results from several different analysis codes developed by this research team. 9.17 conducted tests and developed a correlation for describing a correction term. which is slightly below the melting temperature of aluminum (933 K). C* predictions are more accurate when throat erosion effect is absent. chamber gas temperature curve fit) as input and solved the conservation of mass equation as a function of time. A rapid increase in the port radius is observed in this short time period that the chamber pressure surged abruptly due to the onset of combustion. O/F ratio.5 to 1. A typical temperature-time trace measured by a 25 µm thermocouples cast in solid fuel grain (Test Number XTC-05-SILBAL-13) 8 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics . Time. As shown in Fig. The compression of the fuel corresponding to the chamber pressure surge from 0. etc. a quasi-steady pressure is seen in the rocket motor and the agreement of the measured data is within 10% of the predicted radius. et al. Similar effects were seen in previous hybrid studies conducted with a slab motor utilizing Xray radiography for imaging and ultrasonic transducers for point measurements of the regression rate. Serin. Curve 4 shows the deduced radius variations with respect to time by solving both conservation of mass and energy equations (based upon the adapted LGCP code). The other two noticeable features on the thermocouple trace are the two peaks followed by two temperature decreases. The thermocouples are self-supporting and not covered by a rigid probe. t=0. The first peak that is seen causes a temperature swing of approximately 75 K while the second fluctuates a little bit more and is approximately 100 K. The cause of these peaks is unknown but it is speculated that the thermocouple may be moving in the hot gases due to the flow in the shear layer and this is causing a fluctuation in the measured temperature. Figure 10 shows a typical temperature-time trace obtained from an aluminized solid-fuel grain. First is the small plateau that is seen before the sharp increase in temperature. Approximating the linear regression rate of the fuel as 1. Surface Temperature: 916 K 1000 Plateau Region 500 0 -1500 -1000 -500 0 500 Distance [µm] Figure 10. The output of this analysis is the time variations of chamber pressure. Although the exact cause of the flat region is unknown at this time it is believed that a melt layer on the surface of the fuel could cause this.0 second is due to the viscoelastic nature of HTPB. The measured instantaneous port radius data at nozzle-end of the solid fuel grain from the analysis of X-ray images are plotted on Fig. Curve 2 shows the predicted results using data from NASA-CEA code (C* curve fit. which causes non-linear deformations.In-Situ Cast Fine-Wire Thermocouples The ability to cast fine-wire thermocouples in the solid-fuel grain allows a subsurface temperature measurement of the fuel as the surface regresses. The nearly constant surface temperature of this zone could be caused by the absorption of the energy being fed back from the flame zone by the aluminum particles that are at the fuel surface. Curve 1 represents the deduced time variation of port radius using the pressure-time trace obtained from the test firing. 2000 Temperature Peaks 1500 Temperature [K] An XTC motor test using SF1 fuel grain was conducted at an average oxidizer mass flux level around 100 kg/m2-s to directly compare linear regression rate data with those obtained from the LGCP motor. Curve 3 shows the measured final port radius after the test firing. Information into the surface temperature behavior for various fuel formulations in combination with material property research on fuel samples allows the understanding of what is happening in the sub-surface and surface regions of the fuel.4 mm/s during this time and noting that the plateau region lasts for approximately 60 milliseconds it can be determined that the melt layer has a thickness of approximately 85 µm. After this filling period. It appears that there are three distinct regions. A significant increase in the temperature is not evident until about 916 K. corresponds to energizing the igniter leads. Under such condition.

Figure 11 (a). for the Al-325 fuel formulation. Much of the characterization of particle’s physical properties was conducted during research on the LGCP motor. respectively. HTPB with 13% Alex® fuel. The Al-325 powder contains aluminum particles sieved through a 325 mesh and yields micronsized particles. 11(b) with 11(a). 11(a)) with Fig. and HTPB with 13% Al-325 fuel. This effect was observed experimentally. By comparing the SEM of HTPB fuel (Fig. Further analysis to determine the composition of the surface of these fuel samples is being conducted to determine the extent that accumulation and agglomeration is occurring on the surface of the fuel during combustion. This implies a higher regression rate of the fuel sample.Particle Analysis and Material Characterization Characterization of physical properties of energetic additives was performed to gain deeper understanding of the mechanisms leading to improved performance of solid fuels containing these additives. 11(c). it is quite obvious that the recovered fuel sample surface with large sized aluminum particles is covered by molten material which are believed to be the Al2O3 and some aluminum. The corresponding surface roughness for the aluminized fuel is much higher than that of the pure HTPB fuel. SEM photographs of burned fuel surfaces All images under 250x magnification 9 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics . The molten material during the combustion process could transfer greater amounts of heat to the substrate material and cause the regression rate to enhance. The recovered HTPB burned fuel surface show very uniform structure with regular-sized voids and protruded surfaces. The protruded materials at the surface could represent some carbonaceous residues and partially burned polymer. All three images were photographed under 250x magnification. An almost coral-like texture is seen on the surface of the Alex fuel while the Al-325 fuel surface appears smooth and molten in structure. From Fig. However in Fig. (b). (a) HTPB baseline fuel (b) HTPB with 13% Alex® fuel (c) HTPB with 13% Al-325 fuel Figure 11. active aluminum content. Some clear differences can be noted between SEM (b) and SEM (c). Further information including specific surface area. Comparing Fig. there are substantial amounts of deep caves generated on the surface of recovered HTPB fuel with 13% Alex® particles. the recovered surface appears to be relatively smooth in most places and displays only a few deep holes. The texture of the surface of the fuels is another noticeable difference between the two formulations. The higher surface roughness corresponds to higher energy transfer between the hot gas and the fuel surface. 11(b) it is noticeable right away that the surface is not smooth but appears to contain caverns that go quite deep into the surface of the fuel. and average diameter can be found in References 8 and 9. This effect was also observed experimentally. 11(c). and (c) gives SEM photographs of burned surfaces of HTPB fuel. The large-sized aluminum particles when they reach the fuel surface will have a greater chance to melt and agglomerate.

G.. resistance sensors. REFERENCES 1 Kuo. L. February 26-28.” Invited von Kármán Lecture in the Proceedings of the 37th Israel Annual Conference on Aerospace Sciences. 2 Chiaverini. N. Baseline HTPB fuels demonstrated regularly structured surface with evenly spaced voids and protrusions. The authors would also like to thank Mr. These structures lead to greater surface roughness which enhances heat transfer rates between the hot gas and pyrolyzing fuel surface. SEM photographs of recovered fuel surfaces were obtained for baseline HTPB fuel and aluminized HTPB fuels. J. Wright. II-1 to II-31. R.. 1. an Arrhenius plot can be constructed. Additional instrumentation including ultrasonic transducers. Recorded X-ray images allowed the determination of the instantaneous port radius. With more tests. Addition of Alex® powders into HTPB fuel makes the burning surface to be highly non-uniform with deep caves and strong protrusions. 2. and Hybl. Results show slight differences in power law correlations. M... 4 Teague. and Risha. 3. pp... L. K. W." Journal of Propulsion and Power. Investigate the difference between the XTC and LGCP in burning rate power-law correlations including geometrical differences. L. E.” AIAA Paper 92-3302. Carl Gotzmer and Mrs. Examination of the viscoelastic nature of the fuel formulations and to develop a correction term for cylindrical grain geometry. Johnson. The subsurface temperature profiles were obtained and SF7 had a surface temperature of 916 K.. including low mass fluxes that are in the same range of the LGCP motor. 1997.” AIAA Paper 93-2412. and Cohen. Vol 16. and binders to obtain an optimum fuel/oxidizer combination that produces the desired performance. Anderson. “Importance and Challenges of Hybrid Rocket Propulsion Beyond Year 2000. N. K. Difference in relative roughness could contribute to their difference in final correlation. heat loss. FUTURE WORK • • Continued research with the XTC hybrid rocket motor using the real-time X-ray radiography system will collect more data describing the regression process of the fuel surface for various solid-fuel formulations. and Arves.. Successful testing of the XTC hybrid rocket motor has proven the concept of the real-time Xray radiography measurement method for cylindrical grains. pp. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors would like to acknowledge Mr.. D. Balkanli. K. Jones. 3 Strand. Baoqi Zhang for his help with the fine-wire thermocouple construction. No.. D. “Hybrid Rocket Combustion Study. "Regression Rate Behavior of Hybrid Rocket Solid Fuels. Ferrara for his help with the fabrication of graphite nozzles and mandrel plugs and Prof. June 1999. Harting. However the aluminum burning is less complete for micron-sized aluminum particles. L. C. Serin. G. S. 5 Risha. F. P. The diagnostic feedthroughs have demonstrated the ability to pass 25 µm fine-wire thermocouples to be cast in-situ. K. Kuo. 2000. 4. A. D. A. Lu. The molten material also increases the heat feedback rate to the unburned solid fuel and resulting in higher regression rate... N.. “Hybrid Rocket Fuel Combustion and Regression Rate Study. etc.” AIAA 99-2138.. L.CONCLUSIONS 1. and turbulent kinetic energies. R. Establish correlations for the instantaneous regression rate based on test operating conditions and fuel properties. Peter J. Peretz. June 1993 and Strand. Pure HTPB solid fuel grains have been tested at varying average oxidizer mass flux conditions in the XTC motor. high-energy oxidizers. Nancy Johnson of the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Indian Head division for their sponsorship of this research project through CPBT corporation (under contract number N00174-02-C0024) with a subcontract to PSU.. Conduct material analysis on the burned and the unburned fuel surfaces of various fuels to • • • • determine trends that are common within a fuel formulation. “Effect of Energetic Fuel Additives on the Temperature of Hybrid Rocket Combustion.. A. will be utilized to obtain data for comparison with visual data. C. D.... K. K. Y. June 1992. 125-132. and Cohen. Study the effect of various energetic additives. S. D. Addition of micron-sized aluminum particles into HTPB fuel causes the recovered surface to be covered by the molten Al2O3 and unburned aluminum. J.. A.. H.. Ray. Koch. A. “Surface 10 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics . Ray. Results obtained from the X-ray video agreed well with the calculated instantaneous port radius from the data reduction code. S... G. Kuo.

G. AIAA/SAE/ASME/ASEE 29th Joint Propulsion Conference. K.. A. S.. A. F. Utah 17 Serin. “Uniformity of Burning and Detonation of Pyrotechnic Mixtures Based on Activated Aluminum. 1993. Ulas. E. P. “Particle Size and Reactivity of Aluminum Powders”. Netherlands. 1998. 89-95.. 13 Lengelle. J. “Experimental Tests on a Lab-Scale Hybrid Rocket. D.” Ph. B. 2002. N. C. pp 8196. L. Kumar. Kuo. and Kuo. Indianapolis. 1992... S.. and Arves... Boyer.” Combustion of Energetic Materials. K. pp.. A..02/doc1802. K. CA.and BoronBased Solid-Fuel Characterization in a Hybrid Rocket Engine.. Koch. 1. J. Norolwijk. Harting.llnl. “Nano-Sized Aluminum. Safety and Health. 12 Risha. Boyer. G. Cleveland. B. G. CA.. June 19-21. N... Harting. G. B.” AIAA 92-3302.Heat Release of HTPB-Based Fuels in Oxygen Rich Environments. and Cohen. 15 Environmental. June 28-30. E. R. Nashville.. IN.. K. L. Fourest. Anderson. A. 2002. and Guin. “Hybrid Rocket Fuel Combustion and Regression Rate Study. 35th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference. Carmicino. July13-15.. Wehrman. “Enhancement of Hybrid Rocket Combustion Performance Using Nano-Sized Energetic Particles. 2001. 6 Pranda P. K... Inc. August 2003 10 Strand...” AIAA 2001-3535. Hori. AIAA/SAE/ASME/ASEE 39th Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit 20 – 23 Huntsville..” 4th Green Propellants International Conference. K. 630. K..html 16 Risha. and Kuo. Prandova K. Jones. G. K. Dissertation.A. Kuo. OH. and Hlavacek V. B.. A. K. Evans. Godon. 8 Risha. July 2003 9 Risha. “Pyrolysis and Combustion of Solid Fuels in Various Oxidizing Environments. 101-115. TN. 1999. 2000. and Kuo.. C. A.. 7 Ivanov.. C. 1995.. Eds. "Pressure Correction of Ultrasonic Regression Rate Measurements of a Hybrid Slab Motor. Vol Peretz. G.. K.” 1995 JANNAF Propulsion Meeting CPIA Pub. G. Ray. Combustion Science and Technology. C.” AIAA 2002-3576. 11 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics . Begell House. G.D.” AIAA 2003-4593. B. “Pressure Vessel and System Design”. L. R. AIAA/SAE/ASME/ASEE 34th Joint Propulsion Conference. Vol. 11 Russo Sorge. M.. Monterey. and Capasso.” AIAA 98-3184.. July 7-10. “Condensed Phase Behavior and Ablation Rate of Fuels for Hybrid Propulsion. R. K. “Combustion of HTPB-Based Solid Fuels Containing Nano-sized Energetic Powder in a Hybrid Rocket Motor. “Performance Comparison of HTPB-Based Solid Fuels Containing Nano-Sized Energetic Powder in a Cylindrical Hybrid Rocket Motor.. 20-24 June. and Kuo... pp." AIAA Paper 99-2319. Boyer. AIAA/SAE/ASME 28th Joint Propulsion Conference. E. AIAA/SAE/ASME/ASEE 28th Joint Propulsion Conference. Wehrman. H. T. Los Angeles. Ferrazzano..” AIAA 93-2413. C... E. Chiaverini. A. AIAA/SAE/ASME/ASEE 37th Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit 8 – 11 July 2001 Salt Lake City. AL.. K. B. DeLuca. http://www. K. G. 14 Risha..