UV-Curable Energetic Polymers for Vat Polymerization of Gun Propellants

Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) has been awarded a research program from the U.S. Army to develop and demonstrate vat polymerization capabilities with an ultra-violet (UV) curable energetic polymer binder that will be used to produce gun propellant grains.

Vat polymerization will present the opportunity for performance gains through highly engineered complex structures. Formulation trade studies demonstrate that PSI’s innovative energetic, printable binder can replace inert binders to improve thermodynamic energy in gun propellants.

Traditional gun propellants are produced by extrusion resulting in simple shapes such as perforated cylinders. Vat polymerization of gun propellants can reduce waste and minimize hazardous waste handling. Additionally, vat polymerization will increase performance by permitting complex structures. The target application for this technology is for the U.S. Army due to their need for extended range. However, this technology will benefit other branches of the military and other munition platforms needing an increase in range.

Additionally, research and development is needed to increase % solids in resin during vat polymerization for gun propellants. The techniques developed in this program to increase % solids can also be used to increase filler amount for commercial applications. Carbon black can be added to increase electrical conductivity and glass fibers can be added to increase mechanical strength in resins formed by vat polymerization. These techniques will support commercial applications for this technology.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Peter Warren
Executive Vice President, Materials Division
Physical Sciences Inc.
Telephone: (978) 689-0003