Purdue University Graduate School
McConnell_Thesis_V7.pdf (14.26 MB)

Studies of the use of Additive Manufacturing with Energetic Materials

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posted on 2021-10-12, 12:25 authored by Miranda McConnellMiranda McConnell
This work investigates several uses of additive manufacturing to meet modern security-related needs. All energetic materials when integrated in a practical system require an ignition device, e.g. a bridgewire or spark gap igniter, which is traditionally fabricated from metal components. A conductive polymer, polyaniline,
was chosen to create metal-free spark gap igniters in a process that lends itself well to large-scale manufacturing. The igniters proved consistent in terms of breakdown
voltage, as well as their effectiveness in igniting nanothermite, a representative energetic material. This work also establishes a simple and effective approach suitable for the precise material deposition of CL-20. This is relevant for the development of trace detection calibration standards. This work shows that CL-20 is compatible with inkjet
printing for this purpose. Furthermore, the need to secure sensitive information that is stored locally on electronic devices led to the study of the use of confined nanothermite to damage substrates used in electronics. The maximum thickness of PCB that permitted destruction with repeatable results was investigated o suggest a baseline for future system integration and production. In addition, the stress of the board was modeled using measured thrust data. In brief, this work has proven that the use of additive manufacturing with energetic materials is both a possible and effective means to secure devices, should a device containing sensitive material be unintentionally misplaced.


U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Threat Reduction Agency through grant No. HDTRA1-15-1-0010


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering


  • Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Jeff Rhoads

Additional Committee Member 2

George Chiu

Additional Committee Member 3

Bryan Boudouris

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