This solicitation is now closed
Novel Fluorine-Containing Solid Rocket Motor (SRM) Propellant Component
Navy SBIR 2012.1 - Topic N121-083
ONR - Ms. Tracy Frost -
Opens: December 12, 2011 - Closes: January 11, 2012

N121-083 TITLE: Novel Fluorine-Containing Solid Rocket Motor (SRM) Propellant Component

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Materials/Processes, Weapons


RESTRICTION ON PERFORMANCE BY FOREIGN CITIZENS (i.e., those holding non-U.S. Passports): This topic is "ITAR Restricted". The information and materials provided pursuant to or resulting from this topic are restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120 - 130, which control the export of defense-related material and services, including the export of sensitive technical data. Foreign Citizens may perform work under an award resulting from this topic only if they hold the "Permanent Resident Card", or are designated as "Protected Individuals" as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). If a proposal for this topic contains participation by a foreign citizen who is not in one of the above two categories, the proposal will be rejected.

OBJECTIVE: Identify and develop synthesis routes for a new fluorine-containing propellant component for SRM propellants which will lead to increased impulse density, long service life (> 20 years), increased specific impulse (Isp) relative to state-of-the-art (SOTA) SRM propellants, and support a 1.3 hazard classification and insensitive munitions compliance.

DESCRIPTION: A typical SOTA propellant is aluminized hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) and ammonium perchlorate (AP) with Isp = 264 sec and density = 1.8 g/cc. The DoD requires a measurable increase over these values and requires increased performance, density, and Isp as well as long service life solid propellants for use on tactical, strategic, and boost missile systems. A challenging requirement is to achieve these goals while maintaining suitable mechanical properties throughout a long service life. Currently available ingredients do not provide all of the objective characteristics.

The addition of fluorine into solid propellant systems may occur through an oxidizer, plasticizer, or binder. Propellant property gains from these ingredients include increased density and/or increased energy, but generally maintain a hazard classification demonstrating sensitivity. The increased density of fluorine-containing compounds is well known. Isp increases seen when fluorine is added to the combustion environment are partly attributed to the increase in the metal oxide removal rate from metal particles that are present, as well as an increase in the overall energy release. However, it has been seen that the Isp increases are accompanied by propellant sensitivity without extinguishing. New fluorine-containing propellant components may be a direct route to a solid propellant formulation.

PHASE I: Design research strategies and experimental approach to synthesize and characterize key physical properties. Utilize semi-empirical methods to calculate the heat of formation, heat of combustion, and heat of reaction with aluminum powder for potential synthetic candidates. Utilize gained relative information to determine synthetic goals. Prepare, at a minimum, 2 gram quantities of the new fluorine-containing propellant component at the laboratory scale, to verify, at a minimum, ingredient structure, thermal stability, and hazard sensitivities. Potential hazards associated with the compound synthesis and its use will be submitted. Hazard analysis will include friction, impact and electrostatic discharge (ESD) analysis to identify potential risks to personnel or facilities throughout synthesis procedures, transport, and storage.

PHASE II: Develop and refine a laboratory scale-up synthesis procedure to produce at least 100 grams of the new compound, at a minimum of 97% purity with a goal of > 99% purity, for verification of the Phase I chemical and physical properties and for further evaluation in a solid propellant formulation. New compounds will be shipped to an ONR designated laboratory for evaluation and characterization in a candidate solid propellant formulation.

PHASE III: Design a research strategy to allow for multi-pound production of the new ingredient so that it can be formulated into propellants tailored for specific boost, tactical or strategic missile system applications. Deliver a scale-up process and development package with demonstrated production reproducibility and properties for selected new fluorinated materials.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Due to the nature of these materials in their formulation and final form, commercial application will be limited. Commercial space launch would be a potential customer.

1. Provatas, A., "Energetic Polymers and Plasticisers for Explosive Formulations A Review of Recent Advances," DATO, Aeronautical and Maritime Research laboratory; DSTO-TR-0966, April 2000.

2. Kuo, K., Young, G., "Characterization of Combustion Behavior of Newly Formulated NF2-Based Solid Propellants," Proc. of the Combustion Institute, Vol 29, 2002, pp. 2947-2954.

3. Brenner, R. S., Lou, R. L., "Fluorocarbon Propellant for Controllable Solids," Aerojet solid Propulsion Company, Sac., CA, Technical Report AFRPL-TR-71-47, ASPC Reprot No. 1623-26F, May 1971.

4. Keller, R. F., Elmslie, J. S., Davis, C. F., "Development and Test of a Highly Energetic DOMINO Propellant," Hercules Inc., Magna, UT, April 01, 1973.

5. Yang, V., Brill, T. B., Ren, W-Z, "Solid Propellant Chemistry, Combustion, and Motor Interior Ballistics," Progress in Astronautics and Aeronautics, © 2000, American Institute of Astronautics and Aeronautics, USA, pp 185, 221, 267.

6. Ulas, A., Kuo, K. K., Gotzmer, C., "Ignition and Combustion of Boron Particles in Fluorine-Containing Environments," Combustion and Flame, Vol 127, 2001, pp 1935-1957.

KEYWORDS: Fluorine, Solid Propellant; High Energy Density Ingredients; Energetic Materials; Plasticizer; Binder; Oxidizer

DoD Notice:  
Between November 9 and December 11, 2011, you may talk directly with the Topic Authors to ask technical questions about the topics. Their contact information is listed above. For reasons of competitive fairness, direct communication between proposers and topic authors is
not allowed starting December 12, 2011, when DoD begins accepting proposals for this solicitation.
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