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Experimental Study on the Aerospace Applications of Photoreactive Nanomaterials


This study was concerned with the aerospace applications of the photoignition of carbon nanotubes. First, experiments investigating the volumetric photoignition characteristics of single walled (SWCNTs) and multi walled (MWCNTs) carbon nanotubes were conducted. Photoignition of various SWCNTs, MWCNTs, and ammonium perchlorate/SWCNT mixtures was investigated. The minimum ignition energy (MIE) was measured as a function of bulk temperature using a custom made flash thermal energy sensor. Moreover, design and experiments were carried out to demonstrate individually photoignitable "rocket cells" using mixtures of MWCNTs and solid oxidizers. A number of these rocket cells were assembled and ignited in various arrangements and sequences to demonstrate volumetric photoignition of solid rocket fuel. A proof of concept demonstration of a re-ignitable, controllable, and thrust vectorable solid rocket motor using photoignitable MWCNTs as the ignition source was also constructed and tested. Finally, future work was suggested based on the current state of knowledge and on the results of this study.

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