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Proceedings Paper

Thermographic Observation Of Pyrotechnic Fuse Failure
Author(s): Linda D. Abney; Jonathan H. Mohler
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Paper Abstract

Certain metal combinations alloy, with release of large amounts of energy. Palladium/Aluminum is available commercially in the form of wire, braid and foil of various diameters and thicknesses. These products are useful as heat sources and as fuses to ignite other pyrotechnic compositions. We have found that when used in small devices, where the fuse wire may be required to go through narrow channels and sharp bends, the alloying reaction may not propagate reliably. We have used infrared thermography to monitor heat flow in the fuse wire and in materials surrounding it, to observe the thermal dynamics involved in fuse wire propagation. Fuse wire can be ignited by passing an electrical current through it from end to end or it can be lit from one end to carry ignition to other locations in a device or system. Two effects have been observed thermographically: Conductive cooling of the wire where effective thermal contact occurs and hot zone formation at stress points produced by sharp bends. Thermographic measurements have demonstrated that when electrical current is used to ignite palladium/aluminum wire or braid, reaction begins farthest from a heat sink region, or at a sharp bend.The problem with high thermal contact is easily understood since heat sinking can cool the fuse wire and retard reaction, even to the point of failure. Hot zone formation at high stress regions may, on the other hand, not appear detrimental. However, if one recognizes that these hot zones result from high electrical resistance, probably due to microscopic cracks formed in the palladium sheath of the fuse wire, it is easy to see that a corresponding thermal resistance will also be present. Such a high thermal resistance point, when coupled with adjacent conductive cooling paths can contribute to fuse failure.By using infrared scanning, one can not only observe the importance of such effects in fuse wire ignition and propagation but also see where they may be occurring in a particular configuration. Possible failure points can thus be avoided in device designs.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 May 1987
PDF: 1 pages
Proc. SPIE 0780, Thermosense IX: Thermal Infrared Sensing for Diagnostics and Control, (11 May 1987); doi: 10.1117/12.940513
Show Author Affiliations
Linda D. Abney, Monsanto Research Corporation (United States)
Jonathan H. Mohler, Monsanto Research Corporation (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0780:
Thermosense IX: Thermal Infrared Sensing for Diagnostics and Control
Robert P. Madding, Editor(s)

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