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Presented by: Leslie Fishbein Armament Systems Process Division WECAC. Rheological Capabilities at TACOM-ARDEC. Provide an overview of efforts to establish a state-of-the-art energetic materials characterization laboratory at TACOM-ARDEC. Purpose. Mission Equipment Capabilities

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presented by leslie fishbein armament systems process division wecac
Presented by:

Leslie Fishbein

Armament Systems Process Division


Rheological Capabilities at TACOM-ARDEC

Provide an overview of efforts to establish a state-of-the-art energetic materials characterization laboratory at TACOM-ARDEC Purpose

Equipment Capabilities

Future Work


the tacom ardec mission
The Rheology Laboratory will enhance TACOM-ARDEC’s role as a leading developer of new energetic compositions and processes:

FCS propellants in support of the Multi-role Armament and Ammunition System (MRAAS)

State-of-the-art processing of energetic materials at the Building 1403 Twin-Screw Mixer/Extruder

Process modeling and simulation

Support of items in production (e.g., M30A1, JA-2, AA-2, PAP-7993, M14, Ball Powders)

Opportunities to team with Industry and Academia:

Stevens Institute of Technology (SIT)

Polymer Processing Institute, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)

ATK/Radford AAP


ATK/Thiokol Propulsion

the rheological laboratory
The Rheological Laboratory
  • Consolidate rheological capabilities under one roof:
    • Remotely operated systems
    • User friendly software for data acquisition and analysis
  • Support TACOM-ARDEC material characterizations:
    • Energetic materials (Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics)
    • Precursor Materials (e.g., ETPEs, binders)
    • Plastics
    • Epoxies
    • Composites
    • Resins
  • Support process modeling and simulation efforts:
    • Twin-Screw Mixer/Extruder
    • Shear Roll Mill
    • Cryogenic Polymerization Reactor
capillary rheometer
Capillary Rheometer
  • Similar to laboratory-scale extruderthat is highly instrumented and accurately controlled
  • Relate changes in processing conditions (pressure, temperature) of extrusion to product properties (mechanical, ballistic)
  • Characterize the rheological/flow properties of energetic materials under different conditions (temperature, composition)
  • Obtain a constitutive equation for the energetic materials for process analysis and simulation using RheoPlotter software

Instron Load Frame Model #5581 and

Shear Tool Capillary Adapter Assembly

capillary rheometer1






Capillary Rheometer
  • To determine the rheological properties as a function of shear rate, temperature, pressure, and molecular weight, which is crucial to the design and control of process operation

Apply Different Speeds (S) at controlled Temperature

Obtain Forces (Resistance to Flow)

Data Analysis

Viscosity = F (shear rate, temperature)

Relate To

Flow in Processing Equipment

Die Forming

rheometric scientific dynamic analyzer rda iii

Rotational Rheometer

Rheometric Scientific Dynamic Analyzer- RDA III
  • Study the dynamic mechanical properties of the energetic materials (G, G, tan )
  • Study the complex viscosity (*) and viscoelastic behavior
  • Investigate the molecular structure and interaction/compatibility between the ingredients of the energetic materials
  • Study the reaction kinetics of reactive system
rotational rheometer
Rotational Rheometer
  • Measures viscosity, elasticity and shear modulus
  • Can perform controlled strain, stress and strain rate experiments
  • Includes range of test fixtures:
    • Parallel plate
    • Torsion fixtures
  • Allows for characterization from:
    • Suspensions, emulsions,
    • Polymer melts, elastomers
    • Solids

Apply StrainA=A0sint where A0: small amplitude

Measure Torque, Normal Force

Obtain Normal Force, TorqueTorque = T sin t + T cos t

Data Analysis

Elastic Properties

Viscous Properties

Apply Strain A=A0sint

Relate To

“Structure” of the Mixture (MW, concentration, degree of mixing, compatibility, crosslinking)

torque rheometer
The Poly Lab 300p enables production of small batches with simultaneous recording of torque and time while mixing material:

High torque capability

Oil heated and cooled chamber and plates

Rotors for different shear ranges:

Roller blades (viscous properties for thermoplastics & thermosets)

Cam blades (thermoplasts & elastomers in medium shearing range)

Banbury blades (natural and synthetic rubber)

Sigma blades (low shear ranges; most suitable f/energetic materials)

Teflon bushings to test chemically aggressive media

Special tools to clean the mixer parts

Pneumatic ram

Poly View data evaluation; i.e.:

Routine evaluation --Rheograms (torque vs. time)

Multi curve Analysis

Torque Rheometer
torque rheometer1
The torque rheometer is capable of the measuring the following:

Dynamic viscosity depending on shear load

Melt behavior in the extruder

The influence of additives

Temperature and shear load behavior

TACOM-ARDEC will mainly be using Rheometer for it’s mixing capabilities

Torque Rheometer

Thermo Haake Poly-Lab 300p System


Apply rpm () = Constantat Controlled Temperature

Obtain Torque (time)

Data Analysis

Specific Energy Requirement for Mixing, Reaction = F (time)

Relate To

Mixing, Reaction = F (axial distance)in an extruder

Internal Mixer Torque Rheometer


Planned Work Loading – FY 03


  • Characterization of JA-2 and AA-2 propellant produced on a Shear Roll Mill (ManTech)
    • Supports modeling activity w/SIT
    • Leveraged with implementation of SRM technology in support of the manufacture of solventless propellants at Radford AAP
  • Characterization of ETPEs (ManTech)
    • Supports TACOM-ARDEC modeling activity and ETPE process optimization
  • Begin developing of rheological data base for energetic materials consider for TSE processing (ManTech)
    • Propellants (e.g., M39 / M43 LOVA)
    • Explosives (e.g., PAX-2A IM)
    • Pyrotechnics (e.g, M206, MJU-7A/B, MJU-53/B)
  • 155-mm M485 Illumination Round
    • Characterization of replacement material for liquid polysulfide
planned work loading initiatives
Potential (3rd party)

ATK / Radford AAP (gun propellants):

Full-time PhD Rheologist -- no laboratory capability

ATK / Thiokol Propulsion (rocket and gun propellants)

GENCORP Aerojet (CRADA tasking)

BAE Systems / Holston AAP (explosives)

SIT (in support of process modeling)


Expand PPI commercial market place through use of Rheology Laboratory at TACOM-ARDEC

Planned Work Loading Initiatives
  • Rheology Lab is in full operational status
  • The characterization of Energetics is to be used to understand, simulate, design, and optimize the manufacturing processes
  • CRADA has been signed with PPI/NJIT
  • Future work is being discussed with SIT, ATK, and Aerojet
  • Questions and Inquires to be addressed to:
      • Lilia Mastov
  • (973)724-3351