Aim of the Course:

The aim of this course is to develop an understanding of propellant properties and function, internal ballistics and the fundamentals of thermodynamics and heat transfer as applied to conventional guns. On successful completion of the course the student will be able to: Describe the major types of gun propellant and assess their role in current and future gun systems; Evaluate a propellant's ballistic, storage, vulnerability, mechanical and combustion properties from a knowledge of its composition; Identify the ballistic properties of a gun propellant and how they can be assessed by closed vessel measurement; Illustrate how the burning behavior of propellant grains affects the motion of the shot within a gun barrel Derive the energy balance equation for a conventional gun; Model the effects of heat transfer on a gun barrel; Formulate a theory of gun barrel erosion.

Who should attend?

The course is intended for students, engineers – researchers in the research institutions and engineers in the productions factories. It is basic course in ballistics. It is assumed that attendants have good knowledge in gas dynamics and mathematics.


Duration is two weeks (twelve working days); 50 lectures (one lecture duration 45min).

Course Outline:

1. Properties of Nitrocellulose and Single, Double, Triple and Multi Base Propellants
2. Specific Energy, the Importance of Gas Production and Flame Temperature
3. Burning of Propellant, Burning Law
4. Propellant Ballistic Parameters and their Measurement by Closed Vessel
5. Low Vulnerability Ammunition Propellants and Other New Developments
6. Energy Equation
7. Form Functions for Various Propellant Grain Shapes
8. Complete System of equation Describing Process in a Gun Barrel
9. Heat Transfer
10. Measurement of Pressure and Gun Barrel Temperature
11. Theory of Gun Barrel Erosion and Wear
12. Primers and Igniters
13. Self-Ignition of Propellants and Explosives

Lecturer: Dr Janko Vilicic