A Process to Manufacture Propulsion Grade Functional Polybutadiene

Period of Performance: 05/04/2016 - 05/03/2017


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Reactive Metals International Inc.
340 East Church Road Array
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


MACH I, Inc. successfully developed a process to produce a hydroxyl terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) polymer comparable to the existing commercial product Poly bd R-45M resin under a SBIR Phase II contract completed in 2013. This fact was confirmed through the completion of two commercial runs at a plant in Akron, Ohio and subsequent positive evaluation by propellant manufacturers. However, an additional objective of that contract to develop an improved HTPB polymer for propellant applications was not completed. There is a significant need for a HTPB polymer that is reliable and that provides improved propellant properties particularly for tactical missile applications. As a result, a second SBIR Phase II contract is proposed to complete this development effort. Optimization of the current synthesis procedure is proposed to manufacture a polymer that will provide these improved propellant properties by modifying the molecular weight distribution. In addition, modification of the synthesis to yield a polymer with more consistent reactivity is planned. Evaluation of the candidate polymers in gumstock elastomers will be conducted to demonstrate improvement compared to standard HTPB products. Following scale-up in a 5-gallon reactor, the potentially improved polymers will be evaluated by propellant manufacturers as sub-contractors.