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A Thermodynamic Proposal for the Exposition of Critically and other Subtle Features in Self-Deflagrating Ammonium Perchlorate Systems

Kishore, K and Sridhara, K (1993) A Thermodynamic Proposal for the Exposition of Critically and other Subtle Features in Self-Deflagrating Ammonium Perchlorate Systems. In: Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical & Engineering Sciences, 440 (1908). pp. 55-76.

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A first comprehensive investigation on the deflagration of ammonium perchlorate (AP) in the subcritical regime, below the low pressure deflagration limit (LPL, 2.03 MPa) christened as regime I$^{\prime}$, is discussed by using an elegant thermodynamic approach. In this regime, deflagration was effected by augmenting the initial temperature (T$_{0}$) of the AP strand and by adding fuels like aliphatic dicarboxylic acids or polymers like carboxy terminated polybutadiene (CTPB). From this thermodynamic model, considering the dependence of burning rate ($\dot{r}$) on pressure (P) and T$_{0}$, the true condensed (E$_{\text{s,c}}$) and gas phase (E$_{\text{s,g}}$) activation energies, just below and above the surface respectively, have been obtained and the data clearly distinguishes the deflagration mechanisms in regime I$^{\prime}$ and I (2.03-6.08 MPa). Substantial reduction in the E$_{\text{s,c}}$ of regime I$^{\prime}$, compared to that of regime I, is attributed to HClO$_{4}$ catalysed decomposition of AP. HClO$_{4}$ formation, which occurs only in regime I$^{\prime}$, promotes dent formation on the surface as revealed by the reflectance photomicrographs, in contrast to the smooth surface in regime I. The HClO$_{4}$ vapours, in regime I$^{\prime}$, also catalyse the gas phase reactions and thus bring down the E$_{\text{s,g}}$ too. The excess heat transferred on to the surface from the gas phase is used to melt AP and hence E$_{\text{s,c}}$, in regime I, corresponds to the melt AP decomposition. It is consistent with the similar variation observed for both the melt layer thickness and $\dot{r}$ as a function of P. Thermochemical calculations of the surface heat release support the thermodynamic model and reveal that the AP sublimation reduces the required critical exothermicity of 1108.8 kJ kg$^{-1}$ at the surface. It accounts for the AP not sustaining combustion in the subcritical regime I$^{\prime}$. Further support for the model comes from the temperature-time profiles of the combustion train of AP. The gas and condensed phase enthalpies, derived from the profile, give excellent agreement with those computed thermochemically. The $\sigma _{\text{p}}$ expressions derived from this model establish the mechanistic distinction of regime I$^{\prime}$ and I and thus lend support to the thermodynamic model. On comparing the deflagration of strand against powder AP, the proposed thermodynamic model correctly predicts that the total enthalpy of the condensed and gas phases remains unaltered. However, 16% of AP particles undergo buoyant lifting into the gas phase in the `free board region' (FBR) and this renders the demarcation of the true surface difficult. It is found that T$_{\text{s}}$ lies in the FBR and due to this, in regime I$^{\prime}$, the E$_{\text{s,c}}$ of powder AP matches with the E$_{\text{s,g}}$ of the pellet. The model was extended to AP/dicarboxylic acids and AP/CTPB mixture. The condensed ($\Delta $H$_{1}$) and gas phase ($\Delta $H$_{2}$) enthalpies were obtained from the temperature profile analyses which fit well with those computed thermochemically. The $\Delta $H$_{1}$ of the AP/succinic acid mixture was found just at the threshold of sustaining combustion. Indeed the lower homologue malonic acid, as predicted, does not sustain combustion. In vaporizable fuels like sebacic acid the E$_{\text{s,c}}$ in regime I$^{\prime}$, understandably, conforms to the AP decomposition. However, the E$_{\text{s,c}}$ in AP/CTPB system corresponds to the softening of the polymer which covers AP particles to promote extensive condensed phase reactions. The proposed thermodynamic model also satisfactorily explains certain unique features like intermittent, plateau and flameless combustion in AP/ polymeric fuel systems.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to The Royal Society.
Department/Centre: Division of Chemical Sciences > Inorganic & Physical Chemistry
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2011 09:46
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2011 09:46
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/35338

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