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Proceedings Paper

Exploratory procedures with carbon nanotube-based sensors for propellant degradation determinations
Author(s): Paul B. Ruffin; Eugene Edwards; Christina Brantley; Brian McDonald
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Paper Abstract

Exploratory research is conducted at the US Army Aviation & Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) in order to perform assessments of the degradation of solid propellant used in rocket motors. Efforts are made to discontinue and/or minimize destructive methods and utilize nondestructive techniques to assure the quality and reliability of the weaponry's propulsion system. Collaborative efforts were successfully made between AMRDEC and NASA-Ames for potential add-on configurations to a previously designed sensor that AMRDEC plan to use for preliminary detection of off-gassing. Evaluations were made in order to use the design as the introductory component for the determination of shelf-life degradation rate of rocket motors. Previous and subsequent sensor designs utilize functionalized single-walled carbon nano-tubes (SWCNTs) as the key sensing element. On-going research is conducted to consider key changes that can be implemented (for the existing sensor design) such that a complete wireless sensor system design can be realized. Results should be a cost-saving and timely approach to enhance the Army's ability to develop methodologies for measuring weaponry off-gassing and simultaneously detecting explosives. Expectations are for the resulting sensors to enhance the warfighters' ability to simultaneously detect a greater variety of analytes. Outlined in this paper are the preliminary results that have been accomplished for this research. The behavior of the SWCNT sensor at storage temperatures is outlined, along with the initial sensor response to propellant related analytes. Preparatory computer-based programming routines and computer controlled instrumentation scenarios have been developed in order to subsequently minimize subjective interpretation of test results and provide a means for obtaining data that is reasonable and repetitively quantitative. Typical laboratory evaluation methods are likewise presented, and program limitations/barriers are outlined.

Paper Details

Date Published: 31 March 2010
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 7646, Nanosensors, Biosensors, and Info-Tech Sensors and Systems 2010, 764602 (31 March 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.849558
Show Author Affiliations
Paul B. Ruffin, U.S. Army Research (United States)
Eugene Edwards, U.S. Army Research (United States)
Christina Brantley, U.S. Army Research (United States)
Brian McDonald, U.S. Army Research (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7646:
Nanosensors, Biosensors, and Info-Tech Sensors and Systems 2010
Vijay K. Varadan, Editor(s)

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