Utilization of Micro X-Ray Computed Tomography for the Quality Assurance of the Gun Propellants


  1. Hungler, P.
  2. Petre, C-F.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Valcartier Research Centre, Quebec QC (CAN)
Micro X-ray computed tomography (CT) was used to perform quality assurance tests on gun propellant grains to identify defects and measure critical internal geometries. Multiple batches of lowvulnerability ammunition (LOVA) were manufactured and high-resolution three-dimensional (3D) models of the propellant grains were examined. Defects such as shrinkage, cracking, and nonuniform processing were found. Cracks in internal webs were located and the size of the crack was quantified by looking at axial and orthogonal slices of the propellant grain. Micro CT proved capable of providing precise measurements of internal features such as web thickness, which offered information on deformation. Using orthogonal slices the exact thicknesses of individual webs were measured, providing an indication of which areas within the grain would reach sliver point first. Results of multiple web measurements showed that well manufactured grains had normal distribution curves for web thickness with a mean close to the intended design dimension, while poorly manufactured grains do not conform to normal distributions. The study showed that micro X-ray CT is a very effective tool for the nondestructive evaluation of propellant grains and could be used effectively for research anddevelopment work on novel propellants.
gun propellant;X-ray computed tomography;quality assurance;processing and manufacturing of energetic materials;LOVA;nondestructive testing
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2018-P014 — External Literature
Date of publication
01 Feb 2018
Number of Pages
Reprinted from
International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion, 2016, 15 (4), p. 325 338
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