Date of Award

5-2018

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials

First Advisor

Robson Storey, Ph.D

Advisor Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials

Abstract

Understanding the behavior of hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) as a composite matrix is imperative for the development of future military and aerospace munition technology. As a vital component of solid rocket fuel, HTPB strongly contributes to the fatigue behavior, burn-rate, and other properties that can cause critical failure of the rocket if not formulated properly. The purpose of this research is to identify traits characteristic of poor-performing HTPB matrices by analyzing two samples labeled as either “good” or “bad” based on their performance as a fuel matrix. Samples were analyzed via 1H NMR and GPC to determine their epoxy content, hydroxyl distribution, and molecular weight. Results revealed marginal differences in all three categories, with the sample labeled “bad” possessing higher epoxy content, higher molecular weight, and a higher hydroxyl equivalent weight. Conclusively, further study is required to definitively claim these factors actively contribute to the poor performance of HTPB, however it was confirmed there are key differences in both morphology and molecular weight between the two samples analyzed.

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