Experiments and modeling of propellant fires

RS2N conducted a series of open-air burns of solid-rocket motor (SRM) propellant blocks (1.4 to 11 kg) on the military site of DGA at Tourris (France) to elucidate the thermal environment under burning propellant. Unique test fixturing allowed propellant self-levitation while constraining lateral motion. The propellant was Butalane. Objectives of the tests were to determine burn characteristics such as burn rate and self-levitation, as well as heat fluxes and temperatures of the unprotected steel support.

Visible and infrared videos: A 11 kg block of Butalane propellant is burning in open air to simulate an accidental propellant fire. The propellant burned for 86 s, while block levitation occurred after 32 s. The most severe fire environment was observed under the propellant block, after its self-levitation.

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