The Peer review has evaluated this group as Good
SPLab (Space Propulsion Laboratory) was founded in 1976 in order to support research and education activity in the field of solid propellants for space propulsion applications. Today SPLab takes an active part in international, scientific and educational programs and cooperates with leading universities and scientific centers of Russia, USA, and the leading European countries involved in aerospace sciences and technology. SPLab has a large experience, equipments and instruments to perform experimental research in the field of condensed energetic materials combustion. Special attention is focused on solid propellants and solid fuels for solid rockets and hybrid rockets, respectively. The Lab has developed several measurement techniques to investigate steady and unsteady burning rate, ignition and extinction phenomena, combustion intrinsic stability, temperature distribution in the deflagration wave, pressure deflagration limits, high-speed video techniques for the combustion processes visualization and other important quantities of combustion processes. In particular: - burning rate measurements performed under special conditions: laser driven combustion wave, combustion under acceleration fields, at subatmospheric pressure, in special gaseous atmospheres; - temperature measurement in the flame by home-made microthermocouples (few ?m); - radiant flux emitted by the flame by microcalorimeters; - flame structure analysis; - investigation of solid particles agglomeration phenomena at the burning surface; - morphological and chemical analysis of combustion products solid residues; - investigation of new compositions in order to optimise specific requirements; among these, pollutants emissions, higher specific impulse, cost reduction; - studies of the effects of new ingredients using nano-sized particles and advanced energetic materials (alanes). In close cooperation with external research laboratories, advanced diagnostic techniques for the global characterization of condensed energetic materials combustion are implemented. (i.e., SEM-HREM, Scanning Electro Microscopy-High Resolution Electron Microscopy, XPS, X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, XRD, Xray Diffraction, DSC, Differential Scanning Calorimetry). These techniques are used to study the nature and the effects of new ingredients on combustion efficiency and to characterize morphology, physical and chemical combustion products properties. The original intuition of a strong connection between science and education has been a firm reference in these 30 years and constantly supported the life and development of SPLab. Approximately 500 students have developed their Bachelor or Master theses using the SPLab experimental set-ups; several Ph.D. students completed their education in the same way. Almost 100 visiting professors coming from any country of the world gave lectures, seminars or spent a period of time always increasing the knowledge and the experience of the laboratory. Many students involved in SPLab research programs had the opportunity to increase their education in USA, Russia, France, Germany, Netherland, Spain, Israel, and foreign students approached the SPLab know-how. Research activities are supported by national and international research projects, and by private contracts.
Luigi De Luca