Small-scale static fire tests of 3D printing hybrid rocket fuel grains produced from different materials

McFarland, Mitchell, and Antunes, Elsa (2019) Small-scale static fire tests of 3D printing hybrid rocket fuel grains produced from different materials. Aerospace, 6 (7). 81.

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The last decade has seen an almost exponential increase in the number of rocket launches for sounding missions or for delivering payloads into low Earth orbits. The emergence of new technologies like rapid prototyping, including 3D printing, is changing the approach to rocket motor design. This project conducted a series of small-scale static fire tests of fused deposition manufacturing hybrid rocket motors that were designed to explore the performance of a variety of commonly available fused deposition manufacturing materials. These materials included acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, acrylonitrile styrene acrylate, polylactic acid (PLA), polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate glycol, Nylon, and AL (PLA with aluminum particles). To test the performance of small-scale fuel grains, a modular apparatus with a range of sensors fitted to it was designed and manufactured. The small-scale testing performed static burns on two fuel grains of each material with initial dimensions of 100 mm long and 20 mm in diameter with a 6 mm straight circular combustion port. The focus of this study was mainly on the regression rates of each material of fuel grains. Acrylonitrile styrene acrylate and Nylon showed the highest regression rates, while the polyethylene terephthalate glycol regression rates were relatively poor. Also, the acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and acrylonitrile styrene acrylate demonstrating relatively high regression rates when compared to existing hybrid fuels like hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene.

Item ID: 59859
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2226-4310
Keywords: 3D printing; fuel grain; hybrid combustion; regression rate
Copyright Information: © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2019 00:15
FoR Codes: 40 ENGINEERING > 4014 Manufacturing engineering > 401499 Manufacturing engineering not elsewhere classified @ 50%
40 ENGINEERING > 4016 Materials engineering > 401601 Ceramics @ 50%
SEO Codes: 81 DEFENCE > 810104 Emerging Defence Technologies @ 50%
86 MANUFACTURING > 8698 Environmentally Sustainable Manufacturing > 869899 Environmentally Sustainable Manufacturing not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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