Acoustic pressure oscillation effects on mean burning rates of plateau propellants

Kathiravan B., Senthilkumar C., Rajak R., Jayaraman K.

COMBUSTION AND FLAME, vol.226, pp.69-86, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 226
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.combustflame.2020.11.018
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, Aerospace Database, Chemical Abstracts Core, Chimica, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, EMBASE, Environment Index, INSPEC, Metadex, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.69-86
  • Keywords: Plateau propellants, Binder melt flow, Mean burning rate, Acoustic instability, Burning rate augmentation
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Combustion instabilities constitute a well pronounced problem in all large rocket motors due to the inherent acoustic pressure oscillations established based on the port geometries. Suppression of the combustion instabilities in the solid rocket motor is required for controlling the mean burning rate variation which arises due to the interaction of acoustic pressure wave with propellant combustion. An experimental study has been carried out to investigate the effects of acoustic pressure oscillations on mean burning rates of non-aluminized and aluminized propellants which exhibit low pressure exponent index (n) in the burning rate trends. Steady and unsteady mean burning rates are determined from combustion photography method using a window bomb test facility over the pressure range of 17 MPa. A rotary valve is coupled with the window bomb setup to generate acoustic pressure oscillations inside the test chamber (cylindrical pressure vessel), which imposes the required frequencies of 140, 180 and 240 Hz respectively. The acoustic pressure amplitudes are varied from 0.04% to 1.4% of the mean chamber pressure. Both non aluminized propellants and aluminized propellants have shown significant enhancement in the mean burning rate due to the fluctuations imposed by acoustic pressure amplitudes and frequencies on the propellant combustion. The enhancement in the mean burning rate also depends upon dynamic response of the flame to the excited frequencies and acoustic pressure amplitudes. The plateau burning behaviour of the non-aluminized propellant is completely distorted whereas it is retained in aluminized compositions. Conversely, it also shifts the mean pressure range of plateau burning rate trend. The maximum burning rate augmentation factors resulted from imposed acoustic pressure wave on non-aluminized and aluminized propellants are observed as 1.27 and 1.47 respectively.