New formulation ingredients for gun propellant application PhD

Updated: 23 days ago
Location: Cranfield, ENGLAND

Cranfield University and the Centre for Defence Chemistry are seeking a high calibre candidate to undertake research leading to a PhD award.

This funded PhD will look at applying new organic chemistry technologies to the synthesis of energetic materials for the use in gun propellant. The approach will look at developing routes to existing and new materials using environmentally friendly and safer methods, fully characterise the substances and design their scale-up process.
Read moreRead less


Traditional gun propellants rely on Nitrocellulose, Nitroglycerine and Nitroguanidine as their main source of gas generation. These materials have been around for a long time and have reached their optimum performance levels. Current propellant manufactures have started adding small amounts of additives to try and improve performance, however these only give small incremental improvements. A larger step change is required and to achieve this, future gun propellants need to look for alternative ways to get to the desired gas generation and therefore performance of the system.   

This PhD project will explore the development of sustainable synthetic routes of novel energetic materials, optimising the routes and reviewing their safety and environmental impact. Use of catalysts, flow process, alternative green solvents and solventless reactions will be favoured. Atom efficiency concepts and methods will be exploited to optimise the routes. These will be designed with the potential aim for industrial scale-up. This will be supported by the characterisation of all intermediates and final products, including the essential analyses (chemical, physical, hazard and energetic properties).

By investigating the manufacturing process of current and new materials, and their formulations, using new technologies such as the flow chemistry, RAM or additive manufacturing, this project will look at every aspects of the research and development process, from inception to production.

While applicants are required to possess a sound understanding of synthetic chemistry and strong practical laboratory skills, training in equipment use and the synthesis and handling of energetic materials will be provided. It is expected that the real-world applicability of the topic, coupled with the freedom to investigate a variety of molecular targets, will afford opportunities to publish results in high-impact journals and present at industrial and academic conferences. 

Cranfield Defence and Security (CDS) provide unique educational opportunities to the Defence and security sectors of both public and private sector organisations.

Based at the UK Defence Academy at Shrivenham in Oxfordshire and at Cranfield University Bedfordshire, CDS is the academic provider to the UK Ministry of Defence for postgraduate education at the Defence Academy, training in engineering, science, acquisition, management and leadership.


View or Apply

Similar Positions