Emerging Applications for Ionic and Electric Energetic Materials

Source:  NASA, https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/iss042e016907.jpg
Source: NASA, https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/iss042e016907.jpg

Presented: April 7, 2021 12:00 pm
Presented by: Wayne Sawka

Ionic energetic materials are relatively new compared to legacy materials such as ammonium perchlorate, double-base HMX, and hydrazine.  Ionic energetic materials are hydroxy ammonium nitrate liquid oxidizer based, which is safer and has better performance characteristics than the legacy materials. Ionic energetics are safer to manufacture, transport, and use than most energetics.  Electric solid propellants are pyroelectric, so they can be switched on/off and throttled using only electrical power. Electric solid propellant microthrusters were successfully flown in space in 2014 aboard the Naval Research Laboratory’s SpinSat and last year when the AF-M314e monopropellant flew on NASA’s GPIM mission.  However, commercialization of these materials has shown they are highly tailorable to other applications.  Electric solid propellants are being used in entertainment as squibs/firecrackers that can each fire 400 times on demand before replacement is required.  Other demonstrated applications’ ionic energetics include plasma igniters, electric thermites, variable yield explosives, muzzle flash simulations for live-fire training, and oil field tools.

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