In this chapter we describe several common solid rocket propellants, their principal categories, ingredients, hazards, manufacturing processes, and quality control. We also discuss liners and insulators, propellants for igniters, tailoring of propellants, and propellants for gas generators. It is the second of four chapters dealing with solid propellant rocket motors.
Thermochemical analyses are needed to characterize the performance of a given propellant. The analysis methods are described in Chapter 5. Such analyses provide theoretical values of average molecular weight, combustion temperature, average specific heat ratio, and the characteristic velocity; they are functions of the propellant composition and chamber pressure. A specific impulse can also be computed for a particular nozzle configuration.
The term solid propellant has several connotations, including: (1) the rubbery or plastic-like mixture of oxidizer, fuel, and other ingredients that have been processed and constitute the finished grain; (2) the processed but uncured product; (3) a single ingredient, such as the fuel or the oxidizer. Acronyms and chemical symbols are used indiscriminately as abbreviations for propellant and ingredient names; only some of these will be used here.
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