“An Environmentally Acceptable Alternative for Fast Cook-Off Testing, Demonstration, Validation and Implementation Efforts” by Dr. David Hubble and Dr. Ephraim Washburn
All military munitions or energetic compounds must pass a liquid-fuel fire test. The test exposes full-scale ordnance in a liquid-fuel fire and assesses the violence of reaction and susceptibility of the item to fire. However, increasing environmental concerns with respect to air quality, as well as soil and groundwater contamination, have begun to impact the ability of the United States and other nations to perform the liquid-fuel fire test. Limitations are being placed on where and how the test can be run due to environmental effects. This project has demonstrated and validated the use of propane as a viable replacement to kerosene-based fuels for the liquid-fuel fire test. Full-scale demonstration devices were constructed and operated at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) in Dahlgren, VA, and the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) in China Lake, CA. Ordnance items in the propane fire had the same reaction as ordnance items in a liquid pool fire. These results indicate that the propane burner used in the project is an acceptable alternative to liquid-hydrocarbon-fueled burners for fast cook-off testing. The propane burner design is adaptable to different sizes and is ready to transition to other sites.
Dr. David Hubble works in the Instrumentation Science and Technology Branch at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division in Dahlgren, VA. Since starting with the Navy in 2013, Dr. Hubble has worked on all aspects of insensitive munitions testing but has primarily focused on developing an alternative to the liquid pool fire used for fast cook-off testing. As part of this effort, he has been involved in the Fuel Fire Experts meetings which are international meetings involving the world’s experts in fuel fire testing. Prior to starting with the Navy, Dr. Hubble spent time working in industry on advanced instrumentation for aerospace applications. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 2006 and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on heat transfer from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg in 2011.
Dr. Ephraim Washburn joined the Energetics Research Division of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in 2004. His research focuses on modeling and simulation of various forms of combustion (solid propellant, metal and hydrocarbon). He is currently involved in both modeling and experimentation of fast and slow cook-off. Together with Dr. David Hubble, Dr. Washburn is the co-lead of ESTCP and Insensitive Munitions Advanced Development (IMAD) Program projects to develop and validate a propane fast cook-off burner. He is part of an international group working to update AOP 4240 to include instructions on the use of alternative fuels for the fast heating test procedures for munitions. Dr. Washburn received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University in 1999 and 2004, respectively.