Ammunition Propellants

(Created July 2016)

Commonly Used Chemical Abbreviations in Propellant Compositions

Abbreviation

Full Name

NQ

Nitroguanidine

NG

Nitroglycerin

TAGN

Triaminoguanidine Nitrate

HMX

Homocyclonite

NC

Nitrocellulose

GAP

Polyglycidyl Azide

NAGU

Nitroaminoguanidine

IDP

Isodecylpelarganate

RDX

Cyclo Trimethyl Trinitramine

NENA

Nitrato Ethyl Nitramines

DEGDN

Diethylene Glycol Dinitrate

EDNA

Ethylene Di-Nitrate

TEGDN

Triethylene Glycol Dinitrate

LOVA

Low-Vunerability Propellant

TAGED

Triaminoguanidine Ethylenedinitramine

Generic Propellants

Black Powder (1200s)

Era: 1200s
Composition:

37.5% Potassium Nitrate
31.25% Charcoal
31.25% Sulfur

Black Powder (Modern)

Era: 1780-Present
Flame Temperature: 2,120 K
Impetus: 298.9 kJ/kg (0.298 MJ/kg)
Composition:

75% Potassium Nitrate
15% Charcoal
10% Sulfur

Brown (Cocoa) Powder

Era: 1870-1880s
Composition:

78.83% Potassium Nitrate
17.8% Rye Charcoal
2.04% Sulfur
1.33% Moisture
Notes: The French Navy developed Slow Burning Cocoa (SBC), while the Royal Navy adopted Prismatic Brown Powder (PBC).

British Military Propellants

Ballistite

Era: 1887
Composition:

45% Nitroglycerin
45% Nitrocellulose
10% Camphor

Notes: Invented by Alfred Nobel

Cordite Mk 1

Era: 1889
Flame Temperature: 3,670 K
Composition:

37% Nitrocellulose
58% Nitroglycerin
5% Mineral Jelly (Vaseline)

Cordite MD

Era: 1901
Flame Temperature: 3,217 K
Composition:

65.68% Nitrocellulose
29.53% Nitroglycerin
4.45% Mineral Jelly (Vaseline)
0.34% Volatile Matter and Moisture

Cordite RDB

Era: World War I
Flame Temperature: 3,218 K
Composition:

52% Nitrocellulose
42% Nitroglycerin
6% Mineral Jelly (Vaseline)

Cordite W

Era: 1935
Flame Temperature: 3,304 K
Composition:

65% Nitrocellulose
29% Nitroglycerin
3% Mineral Jelly (Vaseline)
2% Carbamite

Cordite SC

Era: World War II
Flame Temperature: 3,090 K
Composition:

50% Nitrocellulose
41% Nitroglycerin
9% Carbamite

Cordite NC

Era: Unknown
Composition:

96.9% Nitrocellulose
0.46% Diphenylamine
2.64% Volatile Matter and Moisture

Cordite N (Triple Base)

Era: World War II
Flame Temperature: 2,441 K (or 2,468 K)
Pressure: 249.32 MPa
Impetus: 953.49 kJ/kg (964.1 joules/gram) (0.95349 MJ/kg)
Molecular Weight (Gas): 21.280
Covolume: 1.133 grams/cm3
Frozen Gamma: 1.2675
Composition:

19% Nitrocellulose
18% Nitroglycerin
55% Nitroguanidine
7% Carbamite
1% Other

Cordite NH

Flame Temperature: 2495 K
Pressure: 238.42 MPa
Impetus: 929.8 Joules/Gram
Molecular Weight (Gas): 22.308
Covolume: 1.1 grams/cm3
Frozen Gamma: 1.2655

Cordite NQ

Flame Temperature: 2793 K
Pressure: 264.83 MPa
Impetus: 1037.7 Joules/Gram
Molecular Weight (Gas): 22.362
Covolume: 1.082 grams/cm3
Frozen Gamma: 1.2520

Cordite A

Cordite AN

Cordite CD

Cordite WM

Benite

Flame Temperature: 2518 K
Pressure: 133.78 MPa
Impetus: 553.5 Joules/Gram
Molecular Weight (Gas): 29.754
Covolume: 0.863 grams/cm3
Frozen Gamma: 1.2246

German Military Propellants

Notes on German Terminology: RP means Rohr-Pulver (Tube Powder). The designations were by model year and then by the external/internal diameters of the tubes in millimeters. Thus, RP C/38 (14/4.9) means a tube powder introduced 1938 with an external diameter of 14mm and an internal diameter of 4.9mm.

References:
Naval Propellants - A Brief Overview by Tony DiGiulian (LINK)

RP C/06

Era: 1906
Use: Naval Guns
Composition:

70.5% nitrocellulose
23.5% nitroglycerine
5% petroleum jelly
1% sodium bicarbonate.

References:
Naval Propellants - A Brief Overview by Tony DiGiulian (LINK)

RP C/12

Era: 1912
Use: Naval Guns
Composition:

64.13% nitrocellulose
29.77% nitroglycerine
5.75% centralite
0.25% magnesium oxide
0.10% graphite.

References:
Naval Propellants - A Brief Overview by Tony DiGiulian (LINK)

RP C/32

Era: 1932
Use: Naval Guns
Composition:

66.6% nitrocellulose
25.9% nitroglycerine
7.25% centralite
0.15% magnesium oxide
0.10% graphite

References:
Naval Propellants - A Brief Overview by Tony DiGiulian (LINK)

RP C/38

Era: 1938
Use: Naval Guns
Composition:

69.45% nitrocellulose
25.3% DGN
5.0% centralite
0.15% magnesium oxide
0.10% graphite

References:
Naval Propellants - A Brief Overview by Tony DiGiulian (LINK)

RP C/40

Era: 1940
Use: Naval Guns
Composition:

67.55% nitrocellulose
24.6% DGN
7.5% centralite
0.25% magnesium oxide
0.10% graphite

References:
Naval Propellants - A Brief Overview by Tony DiGiulian (LINK)

Gu RP

Era: 1940s
Use: Experimental

French Military Propellants

Poudre B

Era: 1884+

U.S. Military Propellants

M1

Era: 
Use: Artillery
Density: 1,569 kg/m3
Flame Temperature: 2,449 K
Pressure: 236.31 MPa
Impetus: 923.6 kJ/kg
Molecular Weight (Gas): 22.130
Covolume: 1.106 grams/cm3
Frozen Gamma: 1.2674
Composition:

86% Nitrocellulose
9.9% Dinitrotoluene
3% Dibutylphthalate
1% Diphenylamine

M2

Era: 
Use: Artillery
Flame Temperature: 3,373 K
Pressure: 272.33 MPa
Impetus: 1,096 kJ/kg
Molecular Weight (Gas): 25.587
Covolume: 0.975 grams/cm3
Frozen Gamma: 1.2235
Composition:

77.45% Nitrocellulose
19.5% Nitroglycerin
1.4% Barium Nitrate
0.75% Potassium Nitrate
0.60% Ethyl Centralite
0.30% Graphite

References:
MIL-P-323A: Military Specification, Propellant, M2 and M5 (9 March 1959) (789~ kb PDF)

M5

Era: 
Use: Artillery
Flame Temperature: 3,298 K
Pressure: 268.96 MPa
Impetus: 1,080.8 kJ/kg
Molecular Weight (Gas): 25.372
Covolume: 0.981 grams/cm3
Frozen Gamma: 1.2261
Composition:

Composition:

81.95% Nitrocellulose
15% Nitroglycerin
1.4% Barium Nitrate
0.75% Potassium Nitrate
0.60% Ethyl Centralite
0.30% Graphite

References:
MIL-P-323A: Military Specification, Propellant, M2 and M5 (9 March 1959) (789~ kb PDF)

M6

Era: 
Use: Artillery
Density: 1,581 kg/m3
Flame Temperature: 2,570° K
Pressure: 239.23 MPa
Impetus: 947.51 kJ/kg
Molecular Weight (Gas): 22.791
Covolume: 1.079 grams/cm3
Frozen Gamma: 1.2602
Composition:

86.1% Nitrocellulose
9.9% Dinitrotoluene
3% Dibutylphtalate
1% Diphenylamine

M7

Use: Mortar
Composition:

M8

Use: Mortar
Flame Temperature: 3768 K
Pressure: 288.98 MPa
Impetus: 1168.9 kJ/kg
Molecular Weight (Gas): 26.803
Covolume: 0.955 grams/cm3
Frozen Gamma: 1.2119
Composition:

52.15% Nitrocellulose
43.00% Nitroglycerin
3.00% Diethylphthalate
1.25% Potassium Nitrate
0.60% Ethyl Centralite

M9

Use: Mortar
Flame Temperature: 3869 K
Pressure: 289.69 MPa
Impetus: 1174.8 kJ/kg
Molecular Weight (Gas): 27.381
Covolume: 0.945 grams/cm3
Frozen Gamma: 1.2080
Composition:

M12

Use: Small Arms
Impetus: 1,076.04 kJ/kg
Flame Temperature: 3,319° K

M14

Use: Artillery
Flame Temperature: 2743 K
Pressure: 251.31 MPa
Impetus: 988 Joules/Gram
Molecular Weight (Gas): 23.085
Covolume: 1.069 grams/cm3
Frozen Gamma: 1.2539
Composition:

M15

Flame Temperature: 2562 K
Pressure: 254.48 MPa
Impetus: 987.6 kJ/kg
Molecular Weight (Gas): 21.552
Covolume: 1.119 grams/cm3
Frozen Gamma: 1.2632
Composition:

M15A1

Use: Artillery
Flame Temperature: 2,546° K
Impetus: 992.35 kJ/kg

M17

Use: Artillery
Flame Temperature: 2992 K
Pressure: 273.27 MPa
Impetus: 1078.3 Joules/Gram
Molecular Weight (Gas): 23.052
Covolume: 1.054 grams/cm3
Frozen Gamma: 1.2433

Composition:

M18

Use: Small Arms
Flame Temperature: 2616 K
Pressure: 246.88 MPa
Impetus: 967.2 Joules/Gram
Molecular Weight (Gas): 22.487
Covolume: 1.082 grams/cm3
Frozen Gamma: 1.2588

M30

Use: Artillery (105mm)
Composition:

28% Nitrocellulose
22.5% Nitroglycerin
47.7% Nitroguanidine
1.5% Centralite
0.1% Graphite

M43 (RDX Nitramine)

Use: Tank (M900A1 Round)
Impetus: 1,181 kJ/kg
Flame Temperature: 3,065° K

M10

Use: Recoilless Rifle
Flame Temperature:
3,000° K
Impetus: 1,013.3 kJ/kg
Covolume (g/cm3): 1.0025
Frozen Gamma: 1.2342
Density: 1,669 kg/m3

References:
ARL-TR-2326 Minimizing Life-Cycle Costs of Gun Propellant Selection Through Model-Based Decision Making: A Case Study in Environmental Screening and Performance Testing (4.1~ MB PDF)

M26E1

Flame Temperature: 3,132° K
Impetus: 1,085 kJ/kg
Covolume (g/cm3): 1.0383
Frozen Gamma: 1.2384
Density: 1,611 kg/m3

References:
ARL-TR-2326 Minimizing Life-Cycle Costs of Gun Propellant Selection Through Model-Based Decision Making: A Case Study in Environmental Screening and Performance Testing (4.1~ MB PDF)

M30A1 (Nitrate Ester)

Use: Artillery
Flame Temperature:
3,036° K
Impetus: 1073.4 kJ/kg
Covolume (g/cm3): 1.0524
Frozen Gamma: 1.2375
Density: 1,683 kg/m3

References:
ARL-TR-2326 Minimizing Life-Cycle Costs of Gun Propellant Selection Through Model-Based Decision Making: A Case Study in Environmental Screening and Performance Testing (4.1~ MB PDF)

M30A2 (Nitrate Ester)



M31

Flame Temperature: 2,597° K
Impetus: 1,001.32 kJ/kg

M31E1

Flame Temperature: 2,574° K
Impetus: 973.8 kJ/kg
Covolume (g/cm3): 1.1048
Frozen Gamma: 1.2580
Density: 1,642 kg/m3

References:
ARL-TR-2326 Minimizing Life-Cycle Costs of Gun Propellant Selection Through Model-Based Decision Making: A Case Study in Environmental Screening and Performance Testing (4.1~ MB PDF)

JA-2 (Nitrate Ester)

Use: Tank (M829A1/A2 Rounds)
Flame Temperature: 3,410° K
Impetus: 1,130.2 kJ/kg
Covolume (g/cm3): 0.9978
Frozen Gamma: 1.2255
Density: 1,661 kg/m3
Composition:

59.50% NC
14.90% Nitroglycerin
24.80% DEGDN
0.80% Misc

References:
ARL-TR-2326 Minimizing Life-Cycle Costs of Gun Propellant Selection Through Model-Based Decision Making: A Case Study in Environmental Screening and Performance Testing (4.1~ MB PDF)

EX-99

Era:
Use:
Naval Guns (in EX 167 Charge)
Density: 1,660 kg/m3
Impetus: 1,159 kJ/kg
Flame Temperature: 3,019° K
Covolume (g/cm3): 1.122
Frozen Gamma: 1.2900
Composition:

76% RDX
12% Celluose Acetate Butyrate
7.6% Acetal/Formal
4% Nitrocellulose
0.4% Ethyl Centralite

References:
ARL-TR-2326 Minimizing Life-Cycle Costs of Gun Propellant Selection Through Model-Based Decision Making: A Case Study in Environmental Screening and Performance Testing (4.1~ MB PDF)

BAMO

Flame Temperature: 2,863° K
Impetus: 1,191.3 kJ/kg
Covolume (g/cm3): 1.2218
Frozen Gamma: 1.2738
Density: 1,639 kg/m3

References:
ARL-TR-2326 Minimizing Life-Cycle Costs of Gun Propellant Selection Through Model-Based Decision Making: A Case Study in Environmental Screening and Performance Testing (4.1~ MB PDF)

HELP-42

Flame Temperature: 2,555° K
Impetus: 1,063 kJ/kg
Covolume (g/cm3): 1.22
Frozen Gamma: 1.2780
Density: 1,600 kg/m3

References:
ARL-TR-2326 Minimizing Life-Cycle Costs of Gun Propellant Selection Through Model-Based Decision Making: A Case Study in Environmental Screening and Performance Testing (4.1~ MB PDF)

WC 846 Ball Propellant

Density: 980 kg/m3
Composition:

87% Nitrocellulose
9.7% Nitroglycerin
0.9% Diphenylamine
0.7% Dinitrotoluene
0.5% Calcium Carbonate
0.1% Sodium Sulphate
0.3% Graphite

Japanese Military Propellants

Type 13 Cordite

Composition:

64.8% Mixed Nitrocellulose
30% Nitroglycerin
4.5% Centralite
1% Volatile Matter
0.7% Mineral Matter

References:
Naval Propellants - A Brief Overview by Tony DiGiulian (LINK) referencing Report O-10-2: Japanese Propellants - Article 2, Rocket and Gun Propellants – General (IMAGE)

Type 89 Cordite

Composition:

26.5% Nitroglycerin
68.5% Nitrocellulose
5% Jara Jara
1.5% Volatile Matter

References:
Naval Propellants - A Brief Overview by Tony DiGiulian (LINK) referencing Report O-10-2: Japanese Propellants - Article 2, Rocket and Gun Propellants – General (IMAGE)

Type 90 Mk 2 Cordite

Type 92 Cordite

Type 93 Mk 1 Cordite

Type 13 Smokeless Powder

Composition:

64.4% Nitrocellulose
4.5% Centralite
30% Nitroglycerin
1.1% Inert Components

Composition G OTSU, Mk I

Composition:

27% Nitroglycerin
64.3% Nitrocellulose
4% Centralite
4% Formyldiphenylamine
0.7% Inert

Composition G OTSU, Mk II

Composition:

35% Nitroglycerin
59.3% Nitrocellulose
2.5% Centralite
2.5% Formyldiphenylamine
0.7% Inert

Experimental Military Propellants
(Tested in Lab, described in patents, etc)

LGP-1776
Water Soluble Liquid Monopropellant

Flame Temperature: 2600° K
Impetus: 960.7 kJ/kg
Density: 1390 kg/m3
Composition:

60.8% HAN
19.9% Water
19.3% TMAN Fuel

LGP-1781
Water Soluble Liquid Monopropellant

Flame Temperature: 2560° K
Impetus: 929.6 kJ/kg
Density: 1420 kg/m3
Composition:

50.3% HAN
32.5% EOAN Fuel
17.2% Water

LGP-1812
Water Soluble Liquid Monopropellant

Flame Temperature: 2620° K
Impetus: 959.8 kJ/kg
Density: 1400 kg/m3
Composition:

67.5% HAN
18.9% Water
13.6% TEN Fuel

LGP-1814
Water Soluble Liquid Monopropellant

Flame Temperature: 2500° K
Impetus: 924.7 kJ/kg
Density: 1380 kg/m3
Composition:

65.3% HAN
21.5% Water
13.2% TEN Fuel

LGP-1835
Water Soluble Liquid Monopropellant

Flame Temperature: 2410° K
Impetus: 885.7 kJ/kg
Density: 1410 kg/m3
Composition:

68.4% HAN
19.8% Water
11.8% TEN Fuel

LGP-1845
Water Soluble Liquid Monopropellant

Flame Temperature: 2592° K
Impetus: 934.5 kJ/kg
Density: 1450 kg/m3
Composition:

63.2% HAN
20% TEAN Fuel
16.8% Water

LGP 1846 (XM46)
Water Soluble Liquid Monopropellant

Era: 1990s
Flame Temperature: 2469° K
Pressure: 270.80 MPa
Impetus: 898.3 kJ/kg
Molecular Weight (gas): 22.848
Covolume (g/cm3): 0.677
Frozen Gamma: 1.225
Density: 1,420 kg/m3
Composition:

60.8% HAN (Oxidizer)
20% Water (Dilutant)
19.2% TEAN (Fuel)

LGP-1848
Water Soluble Liquid Monopropellant

Flame Temperature: 2260° K
Impetus: 820.7 kJ/kg
Density: 1460 kg/m3
Composition:

66.3% HAN
19.2% Water
14.5% TEAN Fuel

OTTO II
Monopropellant

Era: 1980s / 1990s
Use: Liquid Artillery Propellant and Torpedo Fuel
Flame Temperature: 1986° K
Impetus: 866 kJ/kg
Density: 1230 kg/m3
Composition:

76% Dinitroxypropane
22.5% Di-N-Butyl Sebacate
1.5% 2 Nitrodiphenylamine

Thikol Thermally Stable Caseless Cartridge Propellant

Era: 1974
Use: Experimental (US Patent 4,263,070)
Flame Temperature: 2,375° K
Impetus: 830.94 kJ/kg
Composition:

75% HMX
9.81% LDIM
11.99% Pluronic L-35
3.26% TMP
0.10% TiO(AA)2

High Energy Thermoplastic Elastomer Propellant Sample G

Era: 2000
Use: Experimental (US Patent 6,997,996 B1)
Flame Temperature: 3,683° K
Impetus: 1,348 kJ/kg
Composition:

20% Oxetane Thermoplastic Elastomer
76% CL-20 High Explosive
4% TNAZ Plasticizer

ATK PRD-20

Era: 1998
Use: Experimental (US Patent 6,241,833 B1)
Flame Temperature: 3,372° K
Impetus: 1,205.6 kJ/kg
Composition:

41.90% NC
25.71% RDX
14% Methyl NENA
10% Ethyl NENA
7.69% Nitroglycerin
0.70% Misc

ATK RPDS-21

Era: 1998
Use: Experimental (US Patent 6,241,833 B1)
Flame Temperature: 3,451° K
Impetus: 1,226.1 kJ/kg
Composition:

36.48% NC
30.33% RDX
13.44% Methyl NENA
9.57% Ethyl NENA
9.46% Nitroglycerin
0.72% Misc

ATK RPDS-22

Era: 1998
Use: Experimental (US Patent 6,241,833 B1)
Flame Temperature: 3,551° K
Impetus: 1,249.1 kJ/kg
Composition:

31.11% NC
34.08% RDX
12.57% Methyl NENA
8.94% Ethyl NENA
12.58% Nitroglycerin
0.72% Misc

Rockwell Ultra-High Energy Gun Propellant F-2

Era: 1990
Use: Experimental (US Patent 5,053,087)
Flame Temperature: 3,667° K
Impetus: 1,451.46 kJ/kg
Composition:

25% Binder (1/1/1 NC/DANPE/NIBTN)
50% DADNH
25% DATH

Rockwell Ultra-High Energy Gun Propellant F-6

Era: 1990
Use: Experimental (US Patent 5,053,087)
Flame Temperature: 3,811° K
Impetus: 1,495.4 kJ/kg
Composition:

25% Binder (1/1/1 NC/DANPE/NIBTN)
60% DADNH
15% DATN