Development of Spectral Fuels for Use in Bi Spectral Pyrotechnic Formulations

Author: Joshua Gebhardt

  • Thesis download: available for open access on 28 Mar 2026.

Gebhardt, Joshua, 2023 Development of Spectral Fuels for Use in Bi Spectral Pyrotechnic Formulations, Flinders University, College of Science and Engineering

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IR guided and/or “heat seeking” missiles have been responsible for 89 % of military aircraft casualties globally between 1967 - 1993. This has led the implementation of pyrotechnic countermeasures and/or decoy flares to defend against such missile threats. Unfortunately, the advancement of missile technology has out paced that of decoy flares, leading to the emergence of advanced missiles that require decoy flares employing organic fuel components to defeat. Unfortunately, these organic fuel containing flares are typically not efficient as the fuel component does not provide energy during combustion.

The use of high energy organic fuels has been proposed as a solution to this problem. This thesis includes the design, synthesis, and thermal characterisation of various high energy imide containing organic compounds, including alkyne, nitrile and heterocyclic functional groups to fulfil this criterion. It was found that adding high energy groups to various imide core structures resulted in improved flare performace.

Keywords: Pyrotechnics, Organic synthesis, Heat seeking missiles, Heterocyles, Imides, Anhydrides

Subject: Chemistry thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2023
School: College of Science and Engineering
Supervisor: Martin Johnston