Ali Butt

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Robert A. Frederick

Committee Member

George Nelson

Committee Member

Michael Banish


Fracture mechanics., Strains and stresses--Radiography., Radiography., Solid propellant rockets.


Crack propagation in a solid rocket motor environment is difficult to measure directly. This experimental and analytical study evaluated the viability of real-time radiography for detecting bore regression and propellant crack propagation speed. The scope included the quantitative interpretation of crack tip velocity from simulated radiographic images of a burning, center-perforated grain and actual real-time radiographs taken on a rapid-prototyped model that dynamically produced the surface movements modeled in the simulation. The simplified motor simulation portrayed a bore crack that propagated radially at a speed that was 10 times the burning rate of the bore. Comparing the experimental image interpretation with the calibrated surface inputs, measurement accuracies were quantified. The average measurements of the bore radius were within 3% of the calibrated values with a maximum error of 7%. The crack tip speed could be characterized with image processing algorithms, but not with the dynamic calibration data. The laboratory data revealed that noise in the transmitted X-Ray intensity makes sensing the crack tip propagation using changes in the centerline transmitted intensity level impractical using the algorithms employed.



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