Shelf-life analysis of solid rocket engine using HTPB/AP based on kinetic-chemical parameters of DSC analysis and burn on a test bench

  • 16 Accesses


Propellants based on HTPB/AP (hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene/ammonium perchlorate) are the most commonly used in most of the rocket engines used by the Brazilian Armed Forces. This work aimed at the possibility of extending its useful life (currently in 10 years) by performing chemical kinetic analysis of the energetic material via differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and also performing computer simulation of aging process using the software Large-scale Atomic/Molecular Massively Parallel Simulator. The simulations presented the experimental behavior of the aging process, showing the bending and cross-link of the binder with the volume contraction and the energetic stabilization. Thermal analysis via DSC was performed in triplicate and in 3 heating ratios (5 °C, 10 °C and 15 °C) of rocket motor with 11-year shelf-life, using the Arrhenius equation to obtain its activation energy, using Ozawa and Kissinger kinetic methods, allowing comparison with manufacturing period data (standard motor). The obtained activation energies were 126.67 kJ/mol (Ozawa) and 122.85 kJ/mol (Kissinger), much higher than that of the aged propellants (~ 78 kJ/mol, based on literature data), showing that the propellant has not yet aged significantly. In addition, the kinetic parameters of internal pressure of the combustion chamber in 8 rocket engines with 11 years of shelf-life were also acquired, for comparison purposes with the engine start-up data.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Access options

Buy single article

Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.

US$ 39.95

Price includes VAT for USA

Subscribe to journal

Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.

US$ 99

This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8


  1. 1.

    Binda RV(2015) Estudo dos fatores que influenciam a predição de vida útil de motor-foguete sólido, Dissertation, Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica

  2. 2.

    Kirchhof E et al (2016) Estimate of PBX (plastic-bonded explosive) shelf life with accelerated aging. Quim Nova 39(6):661–668

  3. 3.

    Gonçalves RFB, Rocco JAFF, Iha K (2013) Thermal decomposition kinetics of aged solid propellant based on ammonium perchlorate - AP/HTPB binder. In: Elkordy AA (ed) Applications of calorimetry in a wide context—differential scanning calorimetry, isothermal titration calorimetry and microcalorimetry, 1st edn. IntechOpen, pp 325–342

  4. 4.

    Agard G (1997) Structural assessment of solid propellant grains. In: Advisory group for aerospace research & development, p 212

  5. 5.

    Kubota N (2002) Propellants and explosives: thermochemical aspects of combustion, 2nd edn. Weinheim

  6. 6.

    Rocco JAFF (2004) Estudos sobre o envelhecimento de formulações de propelente sólido compósito baseadas em binders poliuretânicos empregadas em motores foguete. Dissertation, Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica

  7. 7.

    Magalhães JB (2011) Estudo sobre envelhecimento acelerado de propelente sólido compósito. Dissertation, Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica

  8. 8.

    STANAG 4170—(2008) Principles and methodology for the qualification of explosive materials for military use explosives, Belgium

  9. 9.

    MIL-STD-1751A (2001) Test method standard safety and performance tests for the qualification of explosives (high explosives, propellants, and pyrotechnics)

  10. 10.

    ASTM E698-11 (2005) Standard test method for arrhenius kinetic constants for thermally unstable materials using differential scanning calorimetry and the Flynn/Wall/Ozawa method, Annu. B. ASTM Stand i:1–8

  11. 11.

    Ozawa T (1970) Kinetic analysis of derivative curves in thermal analysis. J Therm Anal 2(3):301–324

  12. 12.

    Ozawa T (2000) Thermal analysis—review and prospect. Thermochim Acta 355(1–2):35–42

  13. 13.

    Kissinger HE (1956) Variation of peak temperature with heating rate in differential thermal analysis. J Res Natl Bur Stand 57(4):217

  14. 14.

    Kissinger HE (1957) Reaction kinects in differential thermal analysis. Anal Chem 29:1702–1706

  15. 15.

    Shekhar H (2011) Prediction and comparison of shelf life of solid rocket propellants using Arrhenius and Berthelot equations. Propellants Explos Pyrotech 36(4):356–359

  16. 16.

    Fleeman EL (2006) Tactical missile design, 2nd edn. In: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, p 468

Download references


The authors would like to thank the Brazilian agency CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development) for financial support, project Universal 2018, process 406726/2018-3.

Author information

Correspondence to Rene F. B. Gonçalves.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Technical Editor: Mário Eduardo Santos Martins.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Gonçalves, R.F.B., Iwama, E.N., Domingues, M.G. et al. Shelf-life analysis of solid rocket engine using HTPB/AP based on kinetic-chemical parameters of DSC analysis and burn on a test bench. J Braz. Soc. Mech. Sci. Eng. 42, 54 (2020).

Download citation


  • Shelf-life
  • Thermal analysis
  • Ozawa method
  • Kissinger method
  • Thrust