Isocyanate-Free and Dual Curing of Smokeless Composite Rocket Propellants
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Traditional composite rocket propellants are cured by treatment of hydroxyl-terminated prepolymers with polyfunctional aliphatic isocyanates. For development of smokeless composite propellants containing nitramines and/or ammonium dinitramide (ADN), energetic binder systems using glycidyl azide polymer (GAP) are of particular interest. Polyfunctional alkynes are potential isocyanate-free curing agents for GAP through thermal azide-alkyne cycloaddition and subsequent formation of triazole crosslinkages. Propargyl succinate or closely related aliphatic derivatives have previously been reported for such isocyanate-free curing of GAP. Herein, we present the synthesis and use of a new aromatic alkyne curing agent, the crystalline solid bisphenol A bis(propargyl ether) (BABE), as isocyanate-free curing agent in smokeless propellants based on GAP, using either octogen (HMX) and/or prilled ADN as energetic filler materials. Thermal and mechanical properties, impact and friction sensitivity and ballistic characteristics were evaluated for these alkyne cured propellants. Improved mechanical properties could be obtained by combining isocyanate and alkyne curing agents (dual curing), a combination that imparted better mechanical properties in the cured propellants than either curing system did individually. The addition of a neutral polymeric bonding agent (NPBA) for improvement of binder-filler interactions was also investigated using tensile testing and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA). It was verified that the presence of isocyanates is essential for the NPBA to improve the mechanical properties of the propellants, further strengthening the attractiveness of dual cure systems.
Landsem, Eva; Jensen, Tomas Lunde; Kristensen, Tor Erik Holt; Hansen, Finn Knut; Benneche, Tore; Unneberg, Erik. Isocyanate-Free and Dual Curing of Smokeless Composite Rocket Propellants. Propellants, explosives, pyrotechnics 2013 ;Volum 38.(1) s. 75-86