Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stephen A. Whitmore


This research investigates the application of additive manufacturing techniques for fabricating hybrid rocket fuel grains composed of porous Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene impregnated with paraffin wax. The digitally manufactured ABS substrate provides mechanical support for the paraffin fuel material and serves as an additional fuel component. The embedded paraffin provides an enhanced fuel regression rate while having no detrimental effect on the thermodynamic burn properties of the fuel grain. Multiple fuel grains with various ABS-to-Paraffin mass ratios were fabricated and burned with nitrous oxide. Analytical predictions for end-to-end motor performance and fuel regression are compared against static test results. Baseline fuel grain regression calculations use an enthalpy balance energy analysis with the material and thermodynamic properties based on the mean paraffin/ABS mass fractions within the fuel grain. In support of these analytical comparisons, a novel method for propagating the fuel port burn surface was developed. In this modeling approach the fuel cross section grid is modeled as an image with white pixels representing the fuel and black pixels representing empty or burned grid cells. (80 pages)




This work made publicly available electronically on February 15, 2013.