Nitramine propellant ignition and combustion research

M. H. Alexander, P. J. Dagdigian, M. E. Jacox, C. E. Kolb, C. F. Melius, H. Rabitz, M. D. Smooke, W. Tsang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


The efficient and successful design of new generations of highly energetic propellants based on evolving nitramine chemistry will require a thorough knowledge of the chemical and physical parameters controlling their ignition and combustion. The necessary level of insight can be attained and successfully embodied in the predictive computer models necessary for effective propellant design, development and testing activities if a coordinated, hierarchical program of theoretical modeling and confirming and supporting experiments is designed and properly executed. This paper reviews the current state of our understanding of the chemistry and physics of nitramine propellant ignition and combustion, and develops and motivates the basic research program necessary to put advanced nitramine propellant development on a firm and effective scientific basis. Confronting and solving problems involving complex physicochemical phenomena which intertwine complex heat, mass and radiative transfer processes with chemical kinetics is a challenge which physical and engineering scientists are becoming much more adept at meeting. Modern theoretical and experimental tools are now available which allow the design and utilization of much more comprehensive analytical models as well as their concomitant supporting and confirming experimental measurements. Significant recent progress on these types of complex problems in the fields of atmospheric chemistry, hydrocarbon combustion chemistry, chemical laser development and advanced materials processing lead us to believe that similar, focused efforts on advanced nitramine propellant development will be both timely and fruitful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-296
Number of pages34
JournalProgress in Energy and Combustion Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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