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Narayanan Komerath
1
AE6450 Lecture #10
Solid Rocket Engines: 1
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Narayanan Komerath
2
Solid rocket motors
sp
I ρ
Solid rockets
are simpler and cost less than liquid-fueled rockets
have lower I
sp
than most liquids (~ 285 sec)
are more dense -> higher “density impulse” . So packaging
is easier.
Cannot be throttled or shut down during the flight (unless
pre-designed to do so)
Unlike liquid rocket engines, the fuel and oxidizer are premixed in
solid rocket. The result is a rubbery solid that burns when heated.
Thrust is limited by nozzle size – not by pump capacity.
Easy to get very high thrust for
boosters.
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Narayanan Komerath
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Solid Propellant Ingredients
Tables fromHumble
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Oxidizers
•Ammonium Perchlorate (AP) – contains chlorine – acid rain
•Ammonium Nitrate (AN) is more benign. But inherently low burning
rate and a phase change
near 30 deg. C.
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∆ known V
Applications
- Missiles (acceleration, storage)
- Booster, strap ons (high thrust per size)
- Apogee kick motors
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Star-Grained Solid Rocket Motor
http://www.nf.suite.dk/stargrain/ After 1 minute of burn
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General configuration
TE-M-364-4 is a 15,000 lb. thrust solid
propellant motor developed for use as an
upper stage. It is an enlarged version of
the TE-M-364, one of a series of solid
propellant motors that powered the
workhorse USAF Burner I and Burner IIA
upper stages to orbit scientific, weather,
navigation, and communications
satellites.
The TE-M-364-4 powered the upper
stages of the USAF Atlas boosters used
to launch the Global Positioning System
(GPS) satellites. It also was used as the
second stage motor on USAF Thor
vehicles that launched satellites of the
Block 5D Defense Meteorological
Satellite Program (DMSP) as well as the
third stage motor on the Thor Delta
launch vehicles. www.wpafb.af.mil/
museum/engines/eng62.htm
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history.nasa.gov/ rogersrep/v1p56.htm
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STS SRB motors
SRB motor: propellant mixture
ammonium perchlorate (oxidizer, 69.6
percent by weight), aluminum (fuel, 16
percent), iron oxide (a catalyst, 0.4
percent), a polymer (a binder that
holds the mixture together, 12.04
percent), and an epoxy curing agent
(1.96 percent). The propellant is an
11-point star- shaped perforation in
the forward motor segment and a
double- truncated- cone perforation in
each of the aft segments and aft
closure. This configuration provides
high thrust at ignition and then
reduces the thrust by approximately a
third 50 seconds after lift-off to prevent
overstressing the vehicle during
maximum dynamic pressure.
liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/
Shuttle/About/detsrb.html
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The SRBs are used as matched pairs and each
is made up of four solid rocket motor segments.
The pairs are matched by loading each of the
four motor segments in pairs from the same
batches of propellant ingredients to minimize
any thrust imbalance. The segmented-casing
design assures maximum flexibility in
fabrication and ease of transportation and
handling. Each segment is shipped to the
launch site on a heavy- duty rail car with a
specially built cover.
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The forward section of each booster contains avionics, a
sequencer, forward separation motors, a nose cone separation
system, drogue and main parachutes, a recovery beacon, a
recovery light, a parachute camera on selected flights and a range
safety system.
Each SRB has two integrated electronic assemblies, one forward
and one aft. After burnout, the forward assembly initiates the
release of the nose cap and frustum and turns on the recovery
aids. The aft assembly, mounted in the external tank/SRB attach
ring, connects with the forward assembly and the orbiter avionics
systems for SRB ignition commands and nozzle thrust vector
control. Each integrated electronic assembly has a multiplexer/
demultiplexer, which sends or receives more than one message,
signal or unit of information on a single communication channel.
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The nozzle expansion ratio of each booster beginning with the STS-8 mission is 7-
to-79. The nozzle is gimbaled for thrust vector (direction) control. Each SRB has its
own redundant auxiliary power units and hydraulic pumps. The all-axis gimbaling
capability is 8 degrees. Each nozzle has a carbon cloth liner that erodes and chars
during firing. The nozzle is a convergent- divergent, movable design in which an aft
pivot- point flexible bearing is the gimbal mechanism.
The cone- shaped aft skirt reacts the aft loads between the SRB and the mobile
launcher platform. The four aft separation motors are mounted on the skirt. The aft
section contains avionics, a thrust vector control system that consists of two auxiliary
power units and hydraulic pumps, hydraulic systems and a nozzle extension jettison
system.
Eight booster separation motors (four in the nose frustum and four in the aft skirt) of
each SRB thrust for 1.02 seconds at SRB separation from the external tank. Each
solid rocket separation motor is 31.1 inches long and 12.8 inches in diameter.
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www.wstf.nasa.gov/.../
Explosion/HEBFTesting.htm
Solid rocket
Explosion:
Large fragments
created
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www.aero.org/.../crosslink/ winter2003/08.html
Inertial Upper Stage
W. Paul Dunn
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Stinger
Unofficial names/slang: n/a
Function: To provide close-in, surface-to-air
weapons
for the defense of forward combat areas,
vital areas and installations against low altitude
air attacks.
Date deployed: 1987
Contractor: General Dynamics /Raytheon
Unit cost: $38,000
Length: 5' - 0"
Wingspan: 3.5"
Diameter: 0' - 0" (0.00m)
Speed: Supersonic
Weight at launch: 34.5 lbs (launcher w/
missile)
Guidance: Fire-and-forget passive infrared
seeker
Range: approx. 1 - 8 km
Engine: Dual thrust solid fuel rocket motor
Warhead: High explosive
www.combatindex.com/.../ detail/mis/stinger.html
Stinger Man-Portable S-A Missile
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6-inch diameter heavy
wall system capable of
producing a range of
thrust of approximately
150 to 750 pounds
thrust. The motor uses
ten pounds of
cartridge-loaded
propellant, which for
these tests was a 1.1
class, min-smoke
formulation that is a
current production
Army SRM propellant.
The motor was fired in
both a fixed mode and
a closed-loop active
control mode based on
motor pressure.
Pintle-controlled Solid Rocket Motor: CFDRC
www.cfdrc.com/ research/pintle.html
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page: www.ga.com/atg/ aps/solid1.html
SOLID ROCKET MOTOR DISPOSAL
combines cryowashout of the propellant from the motor casing with a simple
supercritical water oxidation reactor for environmentally safe disposal of the
effluent.
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Solid Propellants
Double Base – molecules of fuel/oxidizer are mixed (e.g., gun
powder dissolved in nitroglycerine) – oxygen in both (less common,
more explosive)
Composite – Heterogeneous mixture of fuel, oxidizer and binder,
plus some other additives – more common.
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Fuels

Powdered Aluminium STS
Powdered Mg
PBAN RSRM ←
HTPB ←
Binders
most popular now
The binder holds the entire formulation in a structurally sound
propellant grain, under temperature and pressure variations, plus
accelerations and vibration loads of flight.
Binders should have low density and energy of combustion, plus
structural integrity using minimal binder volume.
“Solids Loading” = percentage the total propellant mass taken up by
fuel + oxidizer. Usually > 90%
Binders are usually long-chain polymers – keep the propellant powders
and crystals in a continuous matrix through polymerizing and
cross-linking.
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Other Ingredients
Fixers (bonding agents): improve bond between oxidizer and
binder
Curatives: increase rate of polymerization.
Plasticizer: improve physical properties at low temperatures
Darkening agents: reduce thermal radiation losses through
translucent propellant
HMX: increases burning rate. Can cause detonations too.
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Propellant Burning Rate
=
n
c
r aP
( ) ( )
= ln ln
c
r n aP
regression rate proportional to pressure to some n
or
Regression Law – St. Robert’s Law
A “plateau” type burning rate law is more common, where n becomes close
to zero over a range of pressure.
Note: n has to be < 1 for stability

, r m
c
P

m
> 1 n
< 1 n
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Grain cross sections to control burning
•End grain: neutral
•Internal Burning Tube: progressive
•Internal-External Burning Tube: neutral
•Rod and Tube: neutral
•Internal Burning Star: neutral
•Dog Bone: neutral
•Slots and Tube: neutral
•Slotted Tube: neutral
•Wagon Wheel: neutral
•Multiple Perforations: neutral
•Neutral thrust history generally gives the smallest inert mass since
the maximum and average pressures on the structure are nearly
the same with this. Else use regressive thrust profiles.
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Simple Solid Rocket Analysis
In a solid rocket motor, the “chamber” pressure is related to the
geometry and burn rate. Therefore we must know something about
the geometry to find P
c
(time) and thus thrust and I
sp
vs. time.
(Simple end-burner design)
= +
. . .
burn volume exit
m m m
( ) ( )
ρ ρ

= +

.
exit
b p c c
A t r V m
t
Then from conservation of mass:
.
p
m
(mass released from surface per unit
time = mass added to growing chamber
volume + mass exhausted)
r
A
b
p
c
.
exit
m
…..(1)
….(2)
ρ
p
ρ
c
L
web
density of solid
density of gas in bore
propellant mass flow rate
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= = =
*
. .
0
0 0
F c t F
sp
p p
T C P A C C
I
g
g m g m
Recall

= =
. .
*
c t
exit
P
P
m m
C
….(3)
( )
ρ
ρ ρ
∂ ∂
= + +
∂ ∂
*
c c t
b p c c
V P A
A t r V
t t
C
=
n
c
r aP
or
So
where (St. Robert’s Law) …..(4)
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Let us first assume:
0
c
t
ρ ∂
=

1) in equilibrium
ρ


c
V
t
ρ
c
( )
b
A t
=
n
c
r aP ρ
*
,
p
C
( )
ρ
ρ
= =
*
*
b c c
n
t
P
c p
A P P
A
rC
aP C
2)
is small (note that
is a gas density)
3) is constant (end burner type design)
4) (n < 1)
(and “a”, n, do not change over time)
then ..
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( )
ρ
=



*
6
1 1
100
1*10
b c
n
t
c p
A P
m MPa A
aP C
cm
Pa (This is a steady-state
approximation)
(steady-state lumped-parameter) where
ρ




*
3
c
n
P
P MPa
cm
s
a
MPa
m
C
s
Kg
m
Pay particular attention to units in (5) if we are going to use Humble’s
table of “a” in Table 6.9.
We can use equation (5) to estimate the size of an end-burner for a
desired P
c
and performance.
………(5)
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Example
= ← 4
c
P Mpa target
=
*
1500 / C m s
= 1.85
f
v
C
≈ 1.2 f (note for solids)
ρ =
3
1800 /
P
Kg m
[ ]
=
.3
.40
c
r P
in cm/s (P
c
=MPa)
= 500,000
Vac
T N = 100sec
b
t
, ,
t b
A A
web
l
If the desired and
Find and
=
=
6
500000 1.85 4 *10
f t c
t
T C A P
N A Pa
t
A
[ ]
{ }
( )
= =
= =
.3
.40 4 100sec
60.629 .6063
web b
web
l rt MPa
l cm m
=.0676m
2
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from (5)
[ ]
{ }
( )
( )
=
| | | |
| |
\ .\ .
.3
3
6
4
1 1
.4 4 1500 / 1800 /
100
1*10
b
t
A MPa
m MPa A
MPa m s Kg m
cm
Pa
= 244.35
b
t
A
A
So
( )
=
2
244.35 .0676
b
A m
=
2
16.51
b
A m
and
π
= * 2
b
b
A
D
= 2.293
b
D m
= .132
web
b
L
D
If this geometry is unacceptable, we can change P
c
and resize.
For example, a higher P
c
will make a longer, more slender solid rocket.
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Time varying Burn Area
For a more general cross section (tube, stov, Wagon, Wheel, etc) we
would expect the cross-sectional area or the total exposed burn area to
change with time.
Given the initial geometry
= =
n
c
dx
r aP
dt
and
ρ

| |
| | | |
=

| | |
\ .\ .
\ .

1
1
*
6
1 1
100
1*10
n
b
c p
t
A m MPa
P aC
A cm
Pa
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But and P
c
can change with time
Let and be fixed
Then
Time varying Burn Area
ρ
*
, , ,
p
a C
In the units we have been using for each, where typically assume
and n are constant.
, ,
b t
A A
( )
=
b b
A A x
t
A
( )
ρ
− ¦ ¹

| | ¦ ¦ | | | |
=
´ `

| | |
\ . \ .\ .
¦ ¦

¹ )
1
*
6
1 1 1
100 100
1*10
n
n
b
p
t
A x
dx m m MPa
a aC
dt cm A cm
Pa
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( )
( )
ρ
− ¦ ¹

| | ¦ ¦ | | | |
= − =
´ `

| | |
\ . \ .\ .
¦ ¦

¹ )
∫ ∫
1
*
6
0
1 1 1
100 100
1*10
n
x t
n
b
i p
t
x
i
A x
m m MPa
dx x x a aC dt
cm A cm
Pa
(at x=x
f
, t=t
b
)
for most complex shapes, we will need to integrate the R.H.S. numerically,
and may be a complex calculation over multiple regions.
( )
b
A x
For a simple shape
where L= bore length
( )
π = 2
b
A x xL
x
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So
( )
π ρ


¦ ¹
¦ ¦
=
´ `
¦ ¦
¹ )
∫ ∫
1
*
8
0
1
2
100
1*10
n
n
x t
p
n
t x
i
n
aC L
dx a
dt
A
x
( )
A t
( )
c t f
P t AC
b
t
=
max
x x
Integrating this (left to HW) gives
X(t) - regression amount as a function of time and therefore
Thrust (t) =
And the total burn time, , can be calculated for when
P
c
(t)