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Solid Propellant Extinction by Laser Pulse

B. V. Novozhilov
Russian Academy of Science - Institute of Chemical Physics, 4, Kosygina St. - Moscow 117977 (Russia)
C. Zanotti* and P. Giuliani
Istituto per la Tecnologia dei Materiali e dei Processi Energetici TeMPE - C.N.R., via R. Cozzi 53, 20125 Milano (Italy)
Ausloschung von Festtreibstoffen durch Laserpulse
Mit einem CO
2
-Laser wurde die Moglichkeit demonstriert, einen
U

bergangszustand der Verbrennung eines Komposit-Treibstoffes


AP.HTPB=86.14 zu erzeugen, der unter stationaren Bedingungen
brannte. Die experimentellen Ergebnisse zeigen auf, dass das
Verbrennungsverhalten durch die Kurven bestimmt werden kann, die
fur jeden Arbeitsdruck die kontinuierlichen Verbrennungslosungen
von den Ausloschlosungen trennen. In dieser Arbeit liefert ein ver-
einfachter theoretischer Ansatz eine phanomenologische Erklarung fur
die Effekte von Energiepulsen auf den Verbrennungsprozess und die
nachfolgende, instationare Reaktion auf das Strahlungsende. Im
Rahmen dieser Studie wird die Ausloschbedingung in Abhangigkeit
der Minimaltemperatur formuliert, die die Unterdruckung der Treib-
stoffverbrennung am Grenzdruck der Verbrennung verursacht. Die
vorliegende theoretische Arbeit hat vor allem das Ziel, den kritischen
Wert des Strahlungsusses fur verschiedene Drucke zu bestimmen,
unter dem nie eine Ausloschung erfolgt, auch wenn die Pulsdauer
gegen unendlich geht. Dann sind die Ausloschgrenzen durch zwei
verschiedene Ansatze deniert, die das Verhaltnis der Relaxationszeit
in der kondensierten Phase und die Pulsdauer der Strahlungsenergie
mit einbeziehen. Zwei Grenzfalle, die durch die langsame bzw.
schnelle Wechselwirkung der Strahlungsenergie mit dem Ver-
brennungsprozess gegeben sind, konnen zur Beschreibung der
Ausloschphanomene genutzt werden, und die Ergebnisse dieser Arbeit
zeigen, dass der generelle Trend der berechneten Grenzwerte die
experimentellen Ergebnisse wiedergibt.
Extinction de propergols solides par des impulsions lasers
Avec un laser CO
2
, on a montre qu'il etait possible de generer un
etat transitoire de combustion d'un propergol composite
AP.HTPB=86.14, qui brule dans des conditions stationnaires. Les
resultats experimentaux montrent que le comportement de combustion
peut etre determine par les courbes qui separent, pour chaque pression
de travail, les solutions de combustion continue des solutions d'ex-
tinction. Dans la presente etude, une approche theorique simpliee
donne une explication phenomenologique aux effets des impulsions
d'energie sur le processus de combustion et a la reaction instationnaire
qui suit la n de la radiation. Dans le cadre de cette etude, la condition
d'extinction est formulee en fonction de la temperature minimale qui
entra ne l'extinction de la combustion du propergol a la pression limite
de combustion. Le travail theorique propose a surtout pour objectif de
determiner la valeur critique du ux energetique pour differentes
pressions sous lesquelles une extinction n'a jamais lieu, meme lorsque
la duree d'impulsion tend vers l'inni. Les limites d'extinction sont
ensuite denies par deux approches differentes, qui tiennent compte du
rapport entre le temps de relaxation en phase condensee et la duree
d'impulsion de l'energie de rayonnement. Deux cas limites donnes par
l'interaction lente ou rapide de l'energie de rayonnement avec le
processus de combustion peuvent etre utilises pour decrire le phe-
nomene d'extinction et les resultats de ce travail montrent que la
tendance generale des valeurs limites calculees reproduit les resultats
experimentaux.
Summary
The possibility to generate a combustion transient of a composite
AP.HTPB=86.14 propellant, burning under steady state conditions,
was experimentally demonstrated by using a CO
2
laser energy pulse.
The experimental results point out that the burning propellant behavior
can be dened by the curves separating, for every operating pressure,
the continuous burning from the extinction solutions. In this paper, a
simplied theoretical approach gives a phenomenological explanation
of the energy pulse effect on the combustion process and the con-
sequent burning propellant response after the deradiation transient. In
the framework of this study the extinction condition is formulated in
terms of the minimum temperature that causes the burning propellant
to quench at the Pressure Deagration Limit. The proposed theoretical
work is aimed, rst of all, to determine the critical radiant ux values,
for different operating pressures, below which the burning propellant
extinction is never achieved even if the laser pulse duration tends to
innity. Then, the extinction boundaries are dened choosing two
different approximate approaches that take into account the ratio
between the condensed phase relaxation time and the radiant energy
pulse duration. Two limit cases, dened as slow=fast interaction of the
radiant energy with the combustion process, can be used to describe
the burning propellant extinction phenomena, and the results of this
work indicate that the general trend of the computed boundary limits
reproduces the experimental data.
1. Introduction
In the past, many papers devoted to the study of propellant-
laser-ux-interaction have been published, and one of the
pioneer work in this eld regards the ignition and gasication
of double-base propellant induced by CO
2
laser irradiation at
normal and high pressure as reported in Ref. 1. However, the
capability to extinguish composite propellants, burning
under steady state conditions by a radiant energy pulse, has
been experimentally demonstrated only in the recent past
(2)
.
This procedure offers the advantage to perturb the combus-
tion process without modifying the uid dynamic eld
around the burning propellant sample and for that reason
the experimental tests can be carried out at constant pressure.
In this case, the burning propellant is removed fromits steady
state combustion regime only by the radiant energy pulse,
and that permits to analyze the extinction phenomena, if any, * Corresponding author; e-mail: zanotti@tempe.mi.cnr.it
# WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH, D-69451 Weinheim, 2000 0721-3115/00/06120317 $17.50:50=0
Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics 25, 317324 (2000) 317
only considering the laser pulse duration and makes the
comparison among the obtained results more immediate.
The experimental data, used in this theoretical approach,
are obtained using a CO
2
laser system, working in continuous
wave mode to guarantee the best laser power stability and
beam intensity distribution (Gaussian) during the tests. Thus,
the laser energy pulse has been generated activating a fast
electro-mechanical shutter, driven by personal computer,
properly designed for this scope.
The burning propellant response to the radiant energy
pulse has been detected by means of a nonintrusive diag-
nostic technique (Laser Doppler Velocimetry) that is able to
work at high frequency. Information, describing the phenom-
ena occurring during the combustion transient, has been
obtained and parameters concerning the extinction condi-
tions have been dened. More information on the experi-
mental apparatus, diagnostic techniques and results can be
found in Ref. 2 where, in order to simplify the data presenta-
tion, all the collected results were referred to the incident
laser ux value corresponding to the maximum of the
Gaussian power distribution. Finally, no corrections were
introduced to take into account the radiation absorption in the
gas phase or laser radiant energy reection from the propel-
lant burning surface and other possible losses of the radiant
energy along the path from the laser head to the propellant
burning surface.
The most straightforward and natural method to elaborate
a theory of solid propellant extinction by deradiation is to
treat nonsteady burning problems, formulated in the form of
heat conduction equation in the condensed phase with a
radiant heat source, supplemented with proper boundary
and initial conditions.
The aim of this work is to give a simple physical
explanation of the observed phenomena and to develop a
theory of solid propellant extinction by a radiant energy
pulse. This approach is far from the scope to describe the full
burning rate-time history but it allows to nd the extinction
criterion connecting the most important parameters at the
extinction boundary.
First of all, the extinction criterion has been formulated
considering the existence of the Pressure Deagration Limit
(PDL) and then taking into account the ratio between the
condensed phase relaxation time and the laser pulse duration.
Two different approximate approaches to calculate the
extinction boundary are examined. If the laser pulse duration
is longer than the characteristic time of the solid phase, the
burning propellant, before the deradiation transient,
approaches the steady state regime and for this reason the
burning rate depends only on the laser radiant heat ux and
operating pressure. In this case, the extinction criteria are
determined from the analysis of the burning propellant
response features only depending on the steady state para-
meters.
The second case is characterized by the opposite condi-
tion; the propellant relaxation time is larger than the laser
pulse duration, thus, the radiant energy is deposited in a thin
surface propellant layer that is quickly converted into gas.
For that reason, the burning surface temperature, during the
deradiation transient, decreases to reach values lower than
the critical surface temperature and extinction occurs. Here,
the latent heat per unit propellant mass needed to transform
the condensed phase into gas can be considered as the main
parameter that inuences the burning propellant behavior.
2. Theoretical Model
A steady state combustion regime of any burning propel-
lant is dened by the steady-state laws giving the dependence
of the linear burning rate, u
0
, and of the surface temperature
T
0
s
, on the external parameters
(3)
as in the following:
u
0
= F(p; T
a
) T
0
s
= F(p; T
a
) (1)
The simplest propellant model is used in this paper and the
Eqs. (1) are taken in the form
u
0
= Ap
v
e
bT
a
u
0
= Be
E=2RT
0
s
(2)
that, when operating at constant initial temperature, it is
useful to write the rst expression of Eq. (1) in the following
way:
u
0
= Dp
v
D = Ae
bT
a
As the steady burning rate at the PDL value
(4)
is different
from zero, we can use Eq. (2) to determine its value:
u
0
`
= Ap
v
`
e
bT
a
u
0
`
= Be
E=2RT
0
s`
(3)
Moreover, it has been shown
(5)
that the steady burning rate
dependence on the radiant heat ux, I, is well described by
the following relationship:
u
0
I
= Ap
v
e
b(T
a
(I=rcu
0
I
))
(4)
while the second expression of Eq. (2) permits to write the
correlation between the steady burning rate and the burning
surface temperature in the presence of the radiant heat ux.
u
0
I
= Be
E=2RT
0
sI
(5)
2.1 Extinction Condition
On the basis of the previous considerations it is necessary
to formulate an extinction condition that implies that the
combustion process can be quenched if the propellant
burning surface temperature reaches the value that corre-
sponds to the temperature at the PDL. Thus, the propellant
combustion process is not activated when:
T
s
_ T
0
s`
(6)
or in terms of burning rate we can write:
u _ u
`
(7)
2.2 Critical Radiant Heat Flux
The experimental data show that a minimum radiant ux
value I* can be found at every xed pressure, below which
the burning propellant extinction is never achieved even if
318 B. V. Novozhilov, C. Zanotti, and P. Giuliani Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics 25, 317324 (2000)
the laser pulse duration tends to innity, (t
p
o). The rst
step of this work is addressed to the estimation of these
critical radiant ux values and Table 1 gives the experimental
data dening the gaps inside which the extinction boundary
lies when the pulse duration t
p
o. The critical radiant
heat ux, I
+
0
, is between I
(e)
0
and I
(n)
0
(I
(e)
0
4I
+
0
4I
(n)
0
).
If t
p
o the propellant burns under steady-state com-
bustion regime ( p =const, I =const) the burning rate and
surface temperature are given by Eqs. (4, 5) and every
deradiation process begins with the burning rate changing
from u
0
I
to u
0
5u
0
I
. The nal result of this combustion
transient depends on the relations between the values of u
0
I
,
u
0
and u
0
`
and the experimental results indicate that three
different possible types of the combustion transients, induced
by the laser cut off, must be analyzed as depicted in Figure 1.
Figure 1a depicts the case where the laser ux intensity is
not suitable to decrease, during the deradiation transient, the
instantaneous burning rate value below the one that is
reached at the PDL, so the combustion process can not be
quenched. An other solution is shown in Figure 1b where the
deradiation transient starts from a larger value of the laser
ux and, in this case, the burning rate decrease is such to
obtain its value below the one corresponding at the PDL.
Therefore, a critical radiant ux exists that should dene the
boundary limit between extinction=no-extinction burning
propellant behavior as shown in Figure 1c.
Every burning propellant can be considered an oscillatory
system having a natural frequency and damping features
(6)
able to generate an oscillatory regime, damped in time (see
Figure 7
(2)
), and well dened if the combustion transient
yields the burning surface temperature close to T
s`
. If no
damping effects are involved, the burning propellant extinc-
tion occurs when u
0
I
u
0
= u
0
u
0
`
but in the real case the
experimental evidence shows that the difference u
0
I
u
0
should be larger in comparison with u
0
u
0
`
.
The approximate estimation of the critical value of I must
consider this peculiar aspect involving a phenomenological
coefcient a that takes into account the damping effect. So,
the new condition for the burning propellant extinction can
be written in the form:
u
0
I
u
0
4a(u
0
u
0
`
) (8)
and the critical value u
I
+ can be obtained from the equality
u
0
I
+ u
0
= a(u
0
u
0
`
) (9)
or
u
0
I
+ = u
0
1 a a
u
0
`
u
0
_ _
(10)
Relationship between u
0
and I
+
has been obtained using
Eqs. (2, 4) which give
ln
u
0
I
+
u
0
= b
I
+
rcu
0
I
+
(11)
and now by the Eqs. (10, 11) it is possible to calculate the
critical value of the radiant ux
Table 1. Radiant Fluxes I
e
0
, I
n
0
for t
p
)1
p I
n
0
I
e
0
kPa W=cm
2
W=cm
2
12 - 15
15 15 21
20 42 63
25 84 -
30 105 126
Figure 1. (a) Burning propellant response after the laser cut off
(t
p
=o). I5I
+
no extinction u
0
I
5u
0
I
+ . (b) Burning propellant
response after the laser cut off (t
p
=o). I4I
+
extinction u
0
I
4u
0
I
+ .
(c) Burning propellant response after the laser cut off (t
p
=o).
I = I
+
critical condition u
0
I
= u
0
I
+ boundary between extinction and no
extinction.
Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics 25, 317324 (2000) Solid Propellant Extinction by Laser Pulse 319
I
+
=
rc
b
u
0
1 a a
u
0
`
u
0
_ _
ln 1 a a
u
0
`
u
0
_ _
(12)
If the Zel'dovich parameter k = b(T
0
s
T
a
) is introduced
we obtain:
I
+

rcu
0
(T
0
s
T
a
)
k
(13)
indicating that the critical radiant heat ux is of the order of
the convective heat ux inside the propellant condensed
phase rcu
0
(T
0
s
T
a
).
2.3 Slow and Fast Interaction Between Combustion and
Irradiation
The parameters, for a given p, that characterize the laser
pulse able to generate a combustion transient that yields the
burning propellant extinction are: the radiant energy ux I
and the minimum exposure time t
p
at which extinction
occurs. On the other hand, the burning propellant response
depends on the condensed phase relaxation time t
c
and thus,
two limit cases of the burning propellant extinction can be
distinguished considering the relation between t
p
and t
c
.
(1) t
p
_ t
c
slow interaction.
If the laser pulse duration is larger or of the order of t
c
the
quasi steady state combustion regime can be reached before
the laser cut off.
(2) t
p
_t
c
fast interaction.
If the laser pulse duration is much shorter than t
c
the
instantaneous burning rate value, when the radiant ux is cut
off, is far from the steady state regime.
Of course, different theories, describing these two opposite
cases, must be used as reported in the following subsections.
2.4 Slow Interaction
If t
p
_ t
c
the propellant burning rate, before the laser cut
off, is close to the u
0
I
value and the possible types of burning
propellant response after the laser cut off are illustrated in
Figure 2.
(1) t
1
5t
p
, u
I
(t
1
)5u
0
I
+ (curve 1) no extinction,
(2) t
2
4t
p
, u
I
(t
2
)4u
0
I
+ (curve 2) extinction,
(3) t = t
p
, u
I
(t
p
)4u
0
I
+ (curve 3) critical condition.
The asymptotic time behavior of the burning rate at t t
p
can be described by the phenomenological differential equa-
tion
du
I
dt
=
u
0
I
u
I
t
cI
(14)
that points out that the approaching rate of u
I
, to the steady
state value u
0
I
, is proportional to the difference between
them. Here the characteristic time of the irradiated con-
densed phase t
cI
has been introduced as dened in the
Appendix. On the basis of these considerations the solution
of Eq. (14) is:
u
I
= u
0
I
(1 Ce
t=t
cI
) (15)
and C is a constant of the order of unity. The critical
extinction condition can be written using Eq. (15) as
follows:
u
0
I
+ = u
0
I
(1 Ce
t
p
=t
cI
) (16)
which gives an explicit form of t
p
t
p
= t
cI
ln C ln 1
u
0
I
+
u
0
I
_ _ _ _
(17)
From the other side we can also write using Eqs. (4) and (11)
I =
rcu
0
I
b
ln
u
0
I
u
0
I
+
=
rcu
0
I
+
b
ln
u
0
I
+
u
0
(18)
Eqs. (17) and (18) allowto obtain a parametric representation
of the extinction function t
p
(I) introducing the following
values
z =
u
0
I
u
0
z
+
=
u
0
I
+
u
0
q =
rc
b
(19)
Using these values and Eq. (A8) for the relaxation time
from the Appendix, Eqs. (17, 18) become:
t
p
=
k
(u
0
)
2
1
z
2
ln C ln 1
z
+
z
_ _ _ _
1
lu
0
kb(T
0
s
T
a
)
z ln z
_ _
2
I = qu
0
z ln z
I
+
= qu
0
z
+
ln z
+
(20)
So, in the case of slowinteraction the extinction curve t
p
(I)
can be obtained using the following procedure:
(a) for a given pressure u
0
, q and I
+
are known, thus z
+
is
calculated by the relation z
+
ln z
+
= I
+
=qu
0
.
(b) for a set of parameters z4z
+
it is possible to calculate
t
p
(z) and I(z) by using Eq. (20): The dependency t
p
on
the radiant energy can be easily plotted.
Figure 2. Burning rate behavior induced by laser pulses.
320 B. V. Novozhilov, C. Zanotti, and P. Giuliani Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics 25, 317324 (2000)
(c) It should be noticed that when z = z
+
we have I = I
+
and as a result t
p
=o (critical conditions).
2.5 Fast Interaction
When the laser pulse duration is smaller in comparison
with the propellant characteristic time two main physical
processes, due to irradiation effect, must be considered.
Firstly, the absorption of the high value of the radiant
energy induces an important change of the thermal wave
structure inside the burning propellant and then the thin
heated layer at the burning surface may be converted into
gas if the laser heat ux is rather large.
The critical extinction condition imposes that after laser
cut off the propellant burning surface temperature must be
equal to the value reached at the PDL limit, T
s`
and this
condition can be obtained by a simple dimensional con-
sideration.
The thickness of the heated layer by radiation grows with
the time as

kt
_
while the position of the point where the
condensed phase has the critical temperature, T
s`
, obeys to
the same law:
s
h
= a

kt
_
(21)
where a is a constant. From the other side, the thickness of
the propellant layer that is converted into gas, requiring Q
energy per unit mass, is proportional to the radiant energy
as described here:
s
g
=
It
rQ
(22)
The curves reported in Figure 3 illustrate that different
possible results could be obtained depending on the laser
pulse duration. If the laser is switched off when (t = t
1
) the
thermal wave structure in the solid is such that the heated
layer is larger than the gasied one, thus, at that while the
burning surface temperature is higher than T
s`
and for that
reason no extinction occurs. In the opposite case, t = t
2
it
happens that s
g
(t
2
)4s
h
(t
2
) and during the solid gasication
the point with T
s`
is inside the gasied zone and after laser cut
off the propellant does not burn because its surface tempera-
ture is lower thanT
s`
.
The critical condition is s
h
(t
p
) = s
g
(t
p
) or:
a

kt
p
_
=
It
rQ
(23)
As it is rather difcult to dene strictly the Q parameter,
ad hoc experiments should be made to estimate this energy
value. In this situation, we may put a =1 and consider Qas an
effective energy necessary to gasify the propellant. Thus,
Eqs. (22, 23) give the simple expression for the extinction
conditions in the case of the fast interaction between
combustion and irradiation.
t
p
=
kr
2
Q
2
I
2
: (24)
Two remarks should be made at this point. Firstly, Eq. (24)
does not contain any characteristics of the combustion wave
because the laser radiant ux is larger in comparison with the
convective one, inside the propellant, at the burning surface.
This condition implies that the convective effect during the
combustion transient is negligible. Of course, a more detailed
theory may reveal the inuence of combustion characteristics
on the extinction conditions, however, as shown in the next
section, experimental data, both for 12 kPa and 15 kPa, are
described by Eq. (24) rather well.
Secondly, we can expect that the order of the value of the
effective energy Q could be few hundred calories per gram
and such energy is released in the condensed reaction layer
during the combustion
(7)
.
3. Theory and Experimental Comparison
The steady state burning characteristics of the
AP.HTPB=86.14 composite propellant tested in Ref. 2 are
reported in Table 2 and the numerical values of the propellant
thermophysical properties used in comparison of the theory
with the experimental data are given in Table 3. They have
been taken from Refs. 8, 9.
The whole set of the experimental results is reported in
Ref. 2 and the useful data summarized in Table 4. Here the
minimum pulse duration at which the extinction exists is
denoted by t
(e)
p
, while the symbol t
(n)
p
corresponds to the
maximum pulse duration at which no extinction is observed
in the experiments.
3.1 Critical Radiant Heat Flux
In this section a comparison between the experimental
radiant ux I
0
and the theoretical value I, was made. The
incident radiant ux values associated to experimental
results, as mentioned in the introduction, used to validate
the theory are overestimated with respect to the effective
radiant energy deposited into the burning propellant. Deter-
mination of the energy losses, for every operating condition,
is not an easy task due to the lack of information on the Figure 3. Critical condition for the fast interaction.
Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics 25, 317324 (2000) Solid Propellant Extinction by Laser Pulse 321
radiant energy absorption by the gas and the burning
propellant surface reectivity.
The only consideration on this matter is that the laser
radiant ux before reaching the burning surface crosses two
ZnSe lenses and one ZnSe window having a radiant energy
loss of about 2% each. Thus, taking also into account that the
average energy value deposited on the burning propellant
surface is 3% less than the maximum of the Gaussian
distribution and that an error of 5% must be considered
in reading the total energy ux, at least a reduction between
5% to 13% of the incident ux is reasonable.
The theoretical values of the critical radiant ux are
calculated by Eq. (12) where the only parameter that can
not be evaluated in the framework of this approximated
theory is the damping parameter a. Therefore, theoretical
curves for different a are plotted in Figure 4 showing that the
theory predicts the order of I
+
rather well if the a parameter
grows with pressure from 1 to 2.
3.2 Extinction Boundary
The theoretical extinction boundaries, for different values
of the operating pressure, are presented in Figs. 57 and the
experimental extinction=no-extinction data are reported as
well.
One can see that at low pressure ( p =12 kPa and 15 kPa)
both branches exist (s curves and f curves). The available
experimental data at p =20 kPa are not sufcient to obtain
comparisons for the rst branch.
Table 4. Laser Pulse Durations t
e
p
, t
n
p
for Different Operating Pressures
I
0
p 12 kPa p 15 kPa p 20 kPa p 30 kPa
t
n
p
t
e
p
t
n
p
t
e
p
t
n
p
t
e
p
t
n
p
t
e
p
W=cm
2
s s s s s s s s
15 - - 5.6 - - - - -
21 0.9 1.0 2.6 2.8 - - - -
31 0.3 0.35 0.64 0.72 5.6 - - -
42 0.205 0.235 0.3 0.35 5.6 - - -
63 0.17 0.205 0.252 0.288 0.8 0.9 - -
84 0.132 0.17 0.14 0.168 0.358 0.404 - -
105 0.072 0.164 0.9 0.116 0.242 0.272 - -
126 0.048 0.06 - - 0.25 0.27 1.1 1.2
147 0.045 0.056 0.056 0.094 0.136 0.152 0.5 0.55
Table 2. Propellant Combustion Characteristics
p u10
2
T
0
s
t
c
kPa cm=s K s
5.8 1.12 680 8.12
12 2.20 711 2.06
15 2.71 721 1.36
20 3.55 733 0.79
30 5.18 755 0.36
Table 3. Propellant Thermophysical Properties
Symbol Quantity Unit Value
r density g=cm
3
1.6
c heat capacity J=g K 1.7
k thermal diffusivity cm
2
=s 10
3
b temperature sensitivity K
1
310
3
n pressure exponent 0.932
E activation energy J=mol 17610
3
T
a
ambient temperature K 300
D factor in the burning law cm=s (kPa)
n
2.1710
3
p
`
pressure deflagration limit kPa 5.8
u
0
`
burning rate at PDL cm=s 1.1210
2
T
0
s`
surface temperature at PDL K 680
l absorption length cm 3.610
3
Figure 4. Critical radiant ux. Theory and experiment comparison.
Figure 5. Extinction boundary for p =12 kPa.
322 B. V. Novozhilov, C. Zanotti, and P. Giuliani Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics 25, 317324 (2000)
The entire tting parameters (I
+
, C and Q) are of reason-
able values and the regions where exist the slow and fast
branches correspond to the theoretical predictions.
4. Conclusion and Future Work
The experimental study reported in Ref. 2 and the theore-
tical consideration of this work is only the rst step investi-
gating such an interesting aspect of nonsteady propellant
combustion as the propellant extinction by a laser pulse.
The results obtained by this approach, based on experi-
mental results collected in a limited range of pressure and
using low values of the incident laser ux, shows that it is
possible to explain the peculiar form of the curves represent-
ing the extinction-non extinction boundary limits.
Even if many propellant parameters, used in this work,
have been chosen fromliterature and they should be different
from the ones characterizing the tested propellant we can say
that the theoretical approach is however consistent with the
experimental trend of the results.
For those reasons, the future work will be addressed to get
more experimental information on the effective radiant ux
impinging on the burning propellant surface, to have more
detailed data on some thermophysical propellant properties
and to widen the operating pressure range.
Last but not least a more powerful laser will be used to be
able to perform tests at higher radiant energy uxes in order
to enlarge the operating conditions.
From the theoretical point of view, a more strict and
detailed theory should be developed using nonsteady pro-
pellant combustion theory with appropriate steady state
propellant burning laws. It may be made in the framework
of the Zel'dovich-Novozhilov theory
(3,6)
.
5. References
(1) B. N. Kondrikov, T. Ohlemiller, M. Summereld, ``Ignition and
Gasication of Double-Base Propellant Induced by CO
2
-Laser
Irradiation'', Problems of Theory of High Explosive 83, 6778
(1974).
(2) C. Zanotti and P. Giuliani, ``Composite Propellant Ignition and
Extinction by CO
2
Laser at Subatmospheric Pressure'', Pro-
pellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics 23, 254259 (1998).
(3) B. V. Novozhilov, ``Nonsteady Burning and Combustion Stability
of Solid Propellants'', AIAA Progress in Astronautics and Aero-
nautics, Vol. 143, Washington, 1992, pp. 601641.
(4) C. Zanotti and P. Giuliani, ``Pressure Deagration Limit of Solid
Rocket Propellants: Experimental Results'', Combustion and
Flame 98, 3545 (1994).
(5) I. G. Assovskii and A. G. Istratov, ``Propellant Burning under
Light Irradiation'', Journal of Applied Mechanics and Technical
Physics 5, 7077 (1971).
(6) B. V. Novozhilov, ``Nonstationary Combustion of Solid Rocket
Fuels'', Nauka, Moscow, 1973 (Translation AFSC FTD-MD-24-
317-74).
(7) A. Zenin, et al., ``Nonsteady Burning and Combustion Stability of
Solid Propellants'', AIAA Progress in Astronautics and Aero-
nautics, Vol. 143, Washington, 1992, pp. 197231.
(8) C. Zanotti, et al., ``Nonsteady Burning and Combustion Stability of
Solid Propellants'', AIAA Progress in Astronautics and Aero-
nautics, Vol. 143, Washington, 1992, pp. 399439.
(9) C. Zanotti, et al., ``Nonsteady Burning and Combustion Stability of
Solid Propellants'', AIAA Progress in Astronautics and Aero-
nautics, Vol. 143, Washington, 1992, pp. 145196.
Nomenclature
a dimensionless factor, see Eq. (21)
A burning law constant
B burning law constant
C integration constant
D burning law constant
E activation energy
F burning law function
h propellant heated layer thickness
I radiant heat ux
k Zel'dovich parameter
l absorption length
p pressure
q given by Eq. (19)
Q effective propellant latent heat for gasication
R universal gas constant
s heating or gasication length
t time
Figure 7. Extinction boundary for p =20 kPa.
Figure 6. Extinction boundary for p =15 kPa.
Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics 25, 317324 (2000) Solid Propellant Extinction by Laser Pulse 323
T temperature
u propellant linear burning rate
x space coordinate
z parameter given by Eq. (19)
a oscillation damping parameter
b propellant burning rate temperature sensitivity
F burning law function
k propellant thermal diffusivity
n pressure exponent
Superscripts
* critical value
(n) non extinction
(e) extinction
o steady state
Subscripts
o experimental value of radiant heat ux
a ambient
I radiant heat ux
h heating
g gasication
` limit value
s surface
Appendix
Relaxation time of the condensed phase heated layer with
the presence of the radiant heat source is calculated in the
appendix. The steady state heat conduction equation in the
burning propellant condensed phase has the form:
k
d
2
T
dx
2
u
0
I
dT
dx

I
rcl
e
x=l
= 0 (A1)
at o5x _ 0 with the boundary conditions
x =o T = T
a
x =0 T = T
0
s
(A2)
In Eq. (A1) l is the radiation absorption length and k is the
thermal diffusivity of the condensed phase. The solution of
Eqs. (A1, A2) is:
T
0
I
(x) = T
a
T
0
sI
T
a

I
rcu
0
I
1
1
k
lu
0
I
_ _
_
_
_
_
_

_
e
u
0
I
x=k

I
1
k
lu
0
I
_ _e
x=l
(A3)
Estimation of t
c
requires the evaluation of the value of the
heated layer characteristic length h that can be obtained from
Eq. (A3).
h
c
=
1
T
0
sI
T
a
_
0
o
(T
0
I
(x) T
a
)dx (A4)
and by simple integration we get
h
c
=
k
u
0
I
1
Il
rck(T
o
sI
T
a
)
_ _
(A5)
The relationship between the characteristic relaxation time
and the characteristic length is:
t
c

h
2
c
k
(A6)
from which we have
t
cI
=
k
(u
0
I
)
2
1
Il
rck(T
o
sI
T
a
)
_ _
2
(A7)
where instead of T
0
sI
one can write T
0
s
.
An alternative expression of the condensed phase relaxa-
tion time can be obtained from Eqs. (A7, 4) which has the
form:
t
cI
=
k
(u
0
I
)
2
1
lu
0
I
kb(T
o
s
T
a
)
ln
u
0
I
u
0
_ _
2
(A8)
Without the irradiation this expression gives the usual form
for the characteristic time of the condensed phase
t
c
= k=(u
0
)
2
.
Acknowledgements
Prof. B. Novozhilov wishes to express his gratitude to the Italian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the nancial support during the four
months fellowship organized by the Landau Network - Centro Volta. It
is also his pleasure to thank Dr. E. Olzi as the director of the hosting
Institute TEMPE-CNR. Dr. C. Zanotti wish to express his thank to the
Director-General A. Nishida and Prof. H. Kohno of the Institute of
Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) where he could write the nal
version of this paper during his stay as Invited Foreign Researcher
Fellow.
(Received December 21, 1999; Ms 2000=034)
324 B. V. Novozhilov, C. Zanotti, and P. Giuliani Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics 25, 317324 (2000)