SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1993

Combustion Characteristics of Polymers as Ignition Promoters


Four polymers, which were high density polyethylene (HDPE), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), unfilled polyimide (PI), and graphite-filled polyimide (GPI), were burned in high pressure oxygen over the range 0.7 to 69 MPa. Three metallic materials were used as support rods: aluminum 2216, stainless steel 316, and pure copper. Flame characteristics of the polymers are described, as well as the polymer potential for igniting the metal support.

HDPE burns at all pressures with a diffusion flame, PTFE burns at all pressures as a surface burner, PI and GPI are combined surface and diffusion flame burners. Flame compositions and temperatures were estimated based on computer calculations (Gordon McBride) and experimental melting characteristics of the aluminum rods.

Author Information

Shelley, RM
Lockheed-ESC, White Sands Test Facility, Las Cruces, NM
Wilson, DB
Lockheed-ESC, White Sands Test Facility, Las Cruces, NM
Beeson, H
NASA, White Sands Test Facility, Las Cruces, NM
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Developed by Committee: G04
Pages: 223–238
DOI: 10.1520/STP24862S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5247-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1855-3