HTPB is a translucent liquid with a color similar to wax paper and a viscosity similar to corn syrup. The properties cannot be precisely stated because HTPB is a mixture rather than a pure compound, and it is manufactured to meet customers' specific requirements. An oligomeric unit typically consists of 5–10 butadiene molecules linked together, with each end of the chain terminated with a hydroxyl [OH] group. HTPB is usually cured by an addition reaction with a polyisocyanate compound.
A solid form is used in model rocketry as a high power fuel known commonly as RBS. It has also found its way into the pyrotechnics industry in mortar tubes for aerial-shell fireworks.
HTPB is used in many solid rocket motors to bind the fuel and oxidizing agent into a solid mass. For example, it is used in all 3/4 stages of the Japanese M-5 rocket satellite launchers and PSLV rocket developed by ISRO for satellite launches. JAXA describe the fuel as "HTPB/AP/Al=12/68/20" which means, proportioned by mass, HTPB 12% (binder and fuel), ammonium perchlorate 68% (oxidizer), and aluminium powder 20% (fuel).
- G. P. Sutton and Oscar Biblar, Rocket Propulsion Elements, (Eighth edition), pp. 595-599, John Wiley and Sons 2010.
- "SpaceDev Hybrid Propulsion". SpaceDev.
- poly-bd-liquid-polybutadiene hydroxyl-terminated, from Cray Valley, a manufacturer of HTPB
- US Patent 5159123 description of synthesis and other details.
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