Journal of Pyrotechnics

 

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Titles and Abstracts for Issue No. 11, Summer 2000

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A Labscale Hybrid Rocket Motor for Instrumentation Studies
R. Shanks and M. K. Hudson
[Dept. Applied Sci. & Grad. Inst. Tech., U Ark LR, Little Rock, AR 72204 USA]

Abstract: An interest in plume spectroscopy led to the development of a labscale Hybrid Rocket Facility at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). The goal of this project was to develop a reliable, consistent rocket motor testbed for the development of plume spectroscopy instrumentation. Hybrid motor technology was selected because it has proven to be safe and inexpensive to operate. The project included the design and construction of the labscale hybrid rocket motor, the supporting facility, the instrumentation and computer control of the motor, and the characterization of this particular thruster, including the regression rate of hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) fuel grains. For plume spectroscopy experiments, the fuel is doped with metal salts, to simulate either solid motors or liquid engines. It was determined the labscale hybrid motor produces a reliable and consistent plume, resulting in an excellent tool for the development of plume spectroscopy and other instrumentation.

Keywords: hybrid rocket motor, plume spectroscopy, engine health, ground testing, rocket diagnostics

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Chemical Analysis of Consumer Fireworks
Per Alenfelt [Hansson PyroTech AB, Box 93, S-427 23, Billdal, Sweden]
Abstract: A chemical analysis of a selection of fireworks has been made. The products were chosen to represent the typical use of consumer fireworks in Sweden 1998. The purpose of the assignment was to estimate to what extent consumer fireworks contribute to the total emission of some undesirable elements in Sweden.
Six consumer items were examined (two of them being multi item kits). Nineteen elements were analyzed, but focus was made on the environmentally undesirable elements arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.

The conclusion was that, as far as arsenic, cadmium and mercury are concerned; the contribution from consumer fireworks is insignificant compared with the total emission and deposition within the country.

The emission of lead, which is a well-known constituent in crackling fireworks effects, can at most be 0.8 % of the total emission and deposition in the country.

The figures in this paper do not provide any evidence in favor of restricting the lead content of fireworks.

Keywords: chemical analysis, fireworks, environment, pollutant, arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, crackling

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Propellant Chemistry
Naminosuke Kubota [Sci. Adv., Mitsubishi Electric, Kamimachiya 325, Kamakura 247-0065, Japan]

Abstract: Propellants used for pyrotechnics are composed of energetic materials that produce high-temperature and high-pressure gaseous products. The propellants are classified into three types by their physical structure and the ingredients used: (1) homogeneous propellant consisting of chemically bonded oxidizer and fuel components in the same molecule, (2) heterogeneous propellant consisting of physically mixed oxidizer and fuel components, and (3) granulated propellants consisting of energetic solid particles. While the energy content of propellant is determined by the chemical properties of the ingredients, the physical properties and chemical processes of the ingredients determine the ballistic characteristics such as burn rate and pressure and temperature sensitivities.

Keywords: propellant chemistry

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Studies of the Thermal Stability and Sensitiveness of Sulfur/Chlorate Mixtures
Part 3. The Effects of Stoichiometry, Particle Size and Added Materials
D. Chapman, R. K. Wharton, J. E. Fletcher [Health & Safety Lab., Harpur Hill, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 9JN, UK] and A. E. Webb [HM Explosives Inspect., Health & Safety Exec., St Anne’s House, Trinity Rd, Bootle, Merseyside, L20 3QZ, UK]

Abstract: The effects of stoichiometry and particle size on the thermal stability and sensitiveness of sulfur/chlorate mixtures have been investigated. Mixtures containing small particles and approximately 5% sulfur were shown to be the least thermally stable. Sulfur/chlorate mixtures containing a third component have also been investigated and compositions with up to 70% added material gave similar low ignition temperatures to mixtures of the two components. All compositions containing sulfur/chlorate were found to be friction sensitive and had limiting loads below the 80 N UN transport criterion. When iron was the third component, the compositions were also impact sensitive, with Limiting Impact Energies below the 2 J UN transport criterion.

Keywords: chlorate, sulfur, sensitiveness, thermal stability, ignition temperature

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Pyrotechnic Particle Morphologies — Metal Fuels
K. L. & B. J. Kosanke [PyroLabs, Inc., Whitewater, CO 81527, USA] and
Richard C. Dujay
[Mesa State College, Electron Microscopy Facility, Grand Junction, CO 81501, USA]

Abstract: The morphology (size, shape and surface features) of the constituent particles in a pyrotechnic composition affects its performance. This is particularly true of metal fuel particles in the composition. Particle morphology can also constitute an important part of forensically establishing a match between materials of known origin and evidence. This article catalogs and briefly discusses some characteristic features commonly associated with metal fuels in pyrotechnic compositions.

Keywords: morphology, metal fuels, forensics, pyrotechnics

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Forensic Testimony: “Matches”, An Over-Inference of Data? A Giglio Obligation?
Frederic Whitehurst [Exec. Dir., Forensic Justice Project, 3233 “P” St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, USA]

Abstract: The expert witness who over-infers his data through the misuse of adjectives of comparison opens himself up to cross-examination that can and will discredit his work product. This paper uses the example of forensic analysis of black powder explosive to demonstrate that one can not categorically “match” one Black Powder sample to another or very often one complex chemical system to another and that even if this were possible, such “matches” may have limited probative value. The paper also explores the legal obligation of the expert to reveal to the prosecutor, court and trier-of-fact the limitations of the probative value of the evidence where those limitations might be considered to be exculpatory information.

Keywords: Black Powder, forensic analysis, Giglio, sulfur, potassium nitrate, charcoal

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Study on Various Polyesters as Binders for Pyrotechnic Composition
J.P. Agrawal, S.N. Singh, D.B. Sarwade, V.A. Mujumdar & NT Agawane
[High Energy Materials Research Laboratory, Sutarwadi, Pune 411 021,  India]

Abstract: Two tracer compositions were formulated based on magnesium, strontium nitrate and sodium nitrate with unsaturated non-halo and halo polyesters as binders. They were characterized for mechanical properties, thermal behaviour, burning rate, luminous output, and impact, friction and spark sensitivities. The data show that the composition with chloropolyester as binder is better for tracer compositions.

Keywords: polyester, halopolyester, binder, tracer composition

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Communications :
  • Shell Altitude vs. Mortar Length by R. Dixon

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  • The Effect of Sample Containers on the Ignition Temperature of Sulfur/Chlorate Mixtures by D. Chapman

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    Last updated 22-Jan-2009