Propellants and processing

The effectiveness of gun propellant-based weapon systems such as tank guns and large calibre naval guns is largely based on the gun propellant used. Gun propellants are designed to produce very large quantities of gas to propel a projectile at high velocity. Conventional solid propellants may be prone to accidental initiation by fire, impact or sparks.

Defence laboratories are always searching for new, less sensitive and more powerful propellants. Propelling a projectile at high velocity is, however, not the only requirement. The use of high-energy gun propellants with armour-piecing projectiles, for instance, also leads to extensive barrel erosion. The use of Triple Base Propellants - in naval guns - does reduce both barrel erosion and the muzzle flash, but at the same time has an adverse effect on velocity. An ideal gun propellant shows a good balance between all the necessary characteristics. At TNO we have been researching and testing gun propellants for more than 40 years.

Support and development

The expertise gained by TNO in gun propellants is used in both support and product development. TNO supports Defence in all kinds of issues related to gun propellant-based weapon systems, including e.g. new developments, service munitions and life extension. TNO also designs and develops charge concepts, ignition systems and small to medium - up to 1000 kg - batches of propellants. Finally, TNO is able to assist in the optimisation of gun propellant production methods. Our extended facilities for Modelling & Testing offer the guarantee that Defence, the principal user of gun propellants, will always have a good insight into all their characteristics, such as chemistry, ballistics, rheology and extrusion.

Force Protection

Dr. Joost van Lingen


Dr. Joost van Lingen


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