Convective Burning and Low-Velocity Detonation in Porous Media

Boris Ermolaev, Ph.D., and Alexey Sulimov, Ph.D., Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics

Edited by Anna Crowley

978-1-60595-565-0, February 2019, 352 pages, 6×9, Hardcover book

Endorsed by:

  • Original investigations into the behavior and mechanisms of convective burning and low-velocity detonation
  • New techniques to slow down convective burning and low-velocity detonation, stabilize them, and control their properties, particularly the transition to normal detonation
  • Applications for reducing risks of accidental ignition of energetic materials
  • Investigates compacted modified propellants to increase performance of guns, especially with a traveling charge
  • Designs for low-velocity detonation as a working model for pulse-nozzle and missile devices and to generate enhanced blast waves

This book presents original research into the behavior, ignition mechanisms, and wave structure of convective burning and low-velocity detonations (LVDs). Such processes occupy an intermediate position between modes of normal combustion and normal detonation, and their properties directly affect the dynamics of explosions, including unplanned explosions caused by accidental ignition. The book illustrates techniques to stabilize convective burning and LVDs and control their properties, thus enabling energetic materials specialists and ballistics experts to manage potentially dangerous hazards of transition to normal detonation. In addition, the book provides a scientific foundation for the technical application of these processes in pulse-nozzle and missile devices and in jet injectors. It also offers new studies on compacted modified propellants, which, due to their burning mechanisms, can significantly enhance the performance of barrel systems.

From the Foreword

…Sulimov and Ermolaev are world experts in understanding the conditions by which transitions from combustion to convective burning and low velocity detonations occur. Sulimov has been active in this area since the 1970s when he co-authored the book entitled “Transition from Deflagration to Detonation in Condensed Phases.”

This new book, on “Convective burning and low-velocity detonation of porous media” comprises an Introduction on the deflagration-to-detonation transition in solids. The remainder is split into two parts. Part 1 covers fundamental properties of convective burning and low-velocity detonation. Part 2 covers the application of convective burning and low-velocity detonation in pulse engineering devices.

In the book chapters the authors expound upon the theory and design of charge concepts that utilise convective burning and low-velocity detonation. This is applied to increase the launcher loading density to nearly 1.4g/cc, achieving a launcher muzzle velocity increase in excess of 20%. This theoretical work is strongly supported by experiments.

Convective Burning and Low-Velocity Detonation in Porous Media should be of considerable interest to scholars, engineers and scientists who are working in the area of the combustion of porous energetic materials. I highly commend it to the reader.


Institute of Shock Physics at Imperial College in London



Chapter 1. Introduction
1.1. Deflagration-to-detonation Transition and its Stages
1.2. Explosion Safety Problems
1.3. Experimental Techniques
1.4. Theoretical Approaches
1.5. Concluding Remarks


Chapter 2. Convective Burning
2.1. Theoretical Model of Convective Burning
2.1.1. Analysis of the Model Equations using Algebraic Approximations
2.2. Breaking of Normal Combustion, and Onset Conditions of Convective Burning
2.3. Convective Burning in Confined Charges
2.3.1. General Properties of the Process Illustrated by Granular Single-base Propellants
2.3.2. Energetic Materials of Small Particle Size
2.4. Convective Burning and Explosion of Mixtures
2.4.1. Binary Mixtures of Ammonium Perchlorate with Organic Fuel or Aluminum
2.4.2. Ternary Mixtures of AP + Aluminum + Nitromethane
2.4.3. Mixtures based on Ammonium Nitrate
2.4.4. Black Powder
2.5. Stabilized Modes of Convective Burning
2.5.1. Quasi-steady Convective Burning
2.5.2. Mechanism of Convective Burning with Periodic Pressure Pulsations
2.5.3. Other Factors Capable of Restricting Acceleration of Convective Burning
2.6. Concluding Remarks

Chapter 3. Low-velocity Detonation
3.1. Methods of Initiation of Low-velocity Detonation
3.2. Viscoplastic Mechanism of Hot Spot Generation
3.3. Properties of Low-velocity Detonation in Various Energetic Materials
3.3.1. Ammonium Nitrate
3.3.2. Mixtures of Ammonium Nitrate with Aluminum
3.3.3. Secondary Explosives
3.3.4. Ammonium Perchlorate and its Mixtures
3.3.5. Composite Cast Propellants
3.3.6. Single-base Propellants
3.4. Low-velocity Detonation Initiated by Burning
3.4.1. Secondary Explosives
3.4.2. Single-base Propellants
3.5. Concluding Remarks


Chapter 4. Compacted Modified Propellant Charges for Barrel Systems
4.1. Ignition and Burning of Separate Propellant Grains Coated by a Polymer Film
4.2. Convective Burning Behavior of Compacted Block Charges
4.3. Factors Controlling the Ballistics Performance of Firings with CMPC
4.4. Principles of the Theoretical Model
4.5. Concluding Remarks

Chapter 5. Application of Compacted Modified Propellant Charges (CMPCs) as a Travelling Charge
5.1. Travelling Charge Concept in Brief
5.2. Monolithic Face-burning Charge from the Fast-burning Composite Propellant NTBS
5.3. Porous Blocks from Retarded Grains of Single-base Propellants
5.3.1. Results of Firings with the Projectile of 35 g in Mass
5.3.2. Results of Firings with a 104-g Projectile
5.4. Example of Parametric Analysis with Numerical Modelling
5.5. Concluding Remarks

Chapter 6. Pulse Nozzle Setups with Convective Burning
6.1. Introductory Remarks
6.2. Methods of Measurement
6.3. Pulse Motors with Working Times No Greater than 5 ms
6.4. Nozzle Motors with Operating Times up to 20–25 ms and Plateau-like Pressure Diagrams
6.5. Concluding Remarks

Chapter 7. Pulse Setups Operating in a Low-velocity Detonation Mode
7.1. Short-pulse Projectile Setup
7.1.1. Firing Conditions
7.1.2. Results of Measurements
7.2. Pulse-nozzle Setup
7.2.1. Firing Conditions
7.2.2. Detonation Properties of the Studied Compositions
7.2.3. Investigation Results
7.3. Concluding Remarks

Chapter 8. Generation of Blast Waves by Non-ideal Detonation of High-density Compositions Based on Ammonium Perchlorate and Enriched by Aluminum
8.1. Detonation Ability and Energetic Properties of Compositions Studied
8.2. Blast Waves in a Cylindrical Channel
8.3. Blast Waves in Open Air
8.4. Concluding Remarks

Chapter 9. Conclusion

Appendix A: Equations of the Quasi-one-dimensional Model of Burning-to-detonation Transition for Individual Energetic Materials
Appendix B: Equations for the Model of Convective Burning in Binary Mixtures of an Oxidizer with Aluminum
Appendix C: Equations of the Non-ideal Detonation Model
Appendix D: Normal Combustion Rates for Explosive Materials and Compositions Under High Pressures

Main Abbreviations and Designations

  1. :

    This is a well written book that presents important aspects of combustion that are generally not covered in textbooks. Specifically, this book clearly describes fundamental and applied aspects of convective burning and low velocity detonations in porous energetic materials. As such, it provides valuable insight and information on topics that would otherwise be difficult to find. The book will be of interest to students, researchers, and engineers who need to understand the combustion characteristics of porous energetic materials, as well as how these properties relate to applications. The book discusses practical details of combustion that go well beyond what is offered in undergraduate and graduate courses.

    Benjamin D. Shaw, Professor and Vice Chair
    Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department
    University of California
    Davis, CA 95616

978-1-60595-565-0, February 2019, 352 pages, 6×9, Hardcover book

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