In a push towards more environmentally friendly pyrotechnics, new greener pyrotechnic compositions need to be developed. A primary goal is to replace components such as lead, barium, and chromium in pyrotechnic compositions. Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) is a 3D printing/additive manufacturing method whereby a thin filament is passed through a heated nozzle, and extruded onto a substrate in successive layers. This method of manufacturing could be used to produce pyrotechnic time delays based on suitable “green” polymer/fuel mixtures. Fluoropolymers are an attractive oxidising system for pyrotechnic use as fluorine is highly reactive and reacts relatively easily with common metallic fuels such as aluminium and magnesium to release a large amount of energy. Fluoropolymers are already in use as oxidisers and binders, especially in infrared decoy flares. PTFE has found wide use in the pyrotechnics industry, but is not melt-processible. A similar fluoropolymer, poly(chloro-trifluoroethylene) (PCTFE) was considered instead. PCTFE differs from PTFE in that one of the fluorine atoms in the TFE monomer has been replaced by a chlorine atom. The larger chlorine atom interferes with the packing of the polymer chains during polymerisation and, as such, may make it easier to process than PTFE. It was found that pure PCTFE degraded heavily during processing and was therefore precluded from any further study. Melt-processible copolymers containing PCTFE are available from industry. These copolymers contain vinylidene fluoride (VDF) in addition to the CTFE i.e. poly(CTFE-co-VDF). Two grades of copolymer were obtained from 3M: FK-800® resin and Dyneon® 31508 resin. These two polymers contain different ratios of CTFE to VDF. FK-800® resin was successfully extruded and showed minimal signs of degradation. Pyrotechnic films, containing aluminium powder as the fuel, were cast with both polymers using solvent techniques. Differential thermal analysis (DTA) was used to determine the ignition points of the compositions. All of the FK-800®-based compositions ignited at approximately 450 °C whilst all the Dyneon® 31508-based compositions ignited at approximately 400 °C. The energy output of the compositions was determined using bomb calorimetry. The experimental energy outputs of the FK-800®-based compositions correlated well with the predictions from the thermodynamic simulations. The maximum energy output, ~7.0 MJ∙kg1, occurred at a fuel loading between 30 – 35 wt.%. Except for one composition, the Dyneon® 31508-based compositions did not ignite in the bomb calorimeter. FK-800® was successfully extruded into a filament and showed minimal signs of degradation. In order to assess the impact of adding a solid filler on the mechanical properties and extrudability of the polymer, magnesium hydroxide was used as inactive model compound in place of aluminium. A filament of FK-800® and Mg(OH)2 was successfully compounded and produced using a filler loading of 30 wt.%. Compounding of the Dyneon 31508® with the magnesium hydroxide was unsuccessful. Addition of LFC-1® liquid fluoroelastomer improved the processibility of the Dyneon 31508® by lowering the melt viscosity.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2017.