Propellant with Pattern-Controlled Burn Rate

Technology #34343

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Kevin Coffey, Ph.D.
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Tim Mohler
Patent Protection
US Patent 11,112,222

Key Points

  • A propellant for firearm cartridges and other applications
  • Made from a flexible sheet like nitrocellulose for which the ignition rate or the pressure curve can be predetermined
  • Enables lower maximum pressure to accelerate a bullet to a higher velocity, while reducing felt recoil and wear and tear on the firearm


University of Central Florida researchers have developed a propellant made for firearm cartridges and other applications. The propellant can produce a predetermined pressure curve that rises more gradually to a maximum pressure and then maintains that pressure throughout the entire time that the bullet travels through the barrel. At the same time, it reduces felt recoil and wear and tear on the firearm. The propellant can be produced safely and inexpensively and transported with minimal risk. It accommodates a wide variety of handgun, rifle, and shotgun cartridges, as well as other applications that use a propellant.

Technical Details

The UCF invention is a propellant made from a flexible sheet, an ignitable material, and a firearm casing. In one example, the flexible sheet is nitrocellulose, and the ignitable material comprises thermite compositions. Thermite is on one side of the flexible sheet in a pattern of triangles. Each triangle’s base is adjacent to one edge of the sheet, and the corresponding apex is adjacent to the other side of the sheet. The flexible sheet is rolled around a nonburnable tube and placed within the firearm casing.

When the nonburnable tube is disposed over the primer pocket, ignition products from the primer travel through the tube, igniting the propellant. The size and shape of the triangles, as well as the amount of surface area covered by thermite, determine the variety of pressure curves that are producible for different firearm cartridges as well as for other applications.

Although the primary factor determining burn rate is the shape of the triangles and the amount of surface area covered by the thermite, other factors, such as layer thickness and total deposition thickness, can also contribute to a predetermined burn rate.


  • Size and shape of areas covered/uncovered on the flexible sheet can be predetermined to generate different pressure curves
  • Can be produced safely and inexpensively and transported with minimal risk
  • Effective in a wide variety of firearm cartridges including handgun, rifle and shotgun

Market Application

  • Military and commercial munitions