Rapid Deflagrating Cord (RDC)

Product Description

Rapid Deflagrating Cord (RDC) transfer line is a linearized metal sheathed propagation cord that uses a high temperature thermally stable energetic material to provide energy to provide signal transmission, heat / ballistic pressure for ignition and / or actuation. The energetic material has an extremely high deflagration (burn rate) that does not transition to a detonation. Additional protection to the outer metal sheath can be incorporated with the use of plastic extrusions or braided textiles / stainless steel wire.

RDC provides an alternate approach for point-to-point signal transmission when the shock from detonating materials cannot be tolerated due to shock sensitive equipment and/or the material in the surround area cannot withstand the high energy shrapnel from detonating cord. The RDC delivers heat and flame to the surround area when the sheath is liberated.

Based on this metal sheath rupture, RDC is currently used for ignition of various propellant applications (pyrogens, rocket motors and automotive passenger side inflators). The coreload (energetic weight per linear foot) can range from 2 grain/ft (transmission and small initiation) to 20 grain/ft or higher (propellant ignition and other forms of work energy release). PacSci EMC can provide end terminations for more defined interconnections (see the RDCTL product page for more information).

Rapid Deflagrating Cord (RDC)
Applications Specifications Interface


Rapid Deflagrating Cords are used on the following:

  • Missile systems
  • Launch vehicle stage separation
  • Aircraft ejection seat sequencing

RDC systems are currently used on the Harpoon and JASSM missiles systems, AGM-130 & Penguin Missile systems and various Navy and Air Force time delays used for ejection seat sequencing.


  • Caloric Output
    700 Calories per gram minimum
    Generates a flame pattern of 5-8 inches using a nominal 6 grains/foot lead sheath
  • Burn Rate
    Typical deflagration rate in low coreloads (2-6 grains/foot) is 8000 in/sec and will be 12,000 in/sec for coreloads in the 10 grains/foot or higher
  • Operating Temperature
    -320 °F to +700 °F
  • Thermal Stability
    +650° F for 24 hours (depending on sheath material)
  • RDC Ignition Methods
    Initiated at either end by:
    an electrical pyrotechnic initiator
    a military grade percussion primer
    a blasting cap
    another length of RDC
  • Available Sheath Material
    Tin (Patented)


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