MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: What type of chemicals are used in rocket engine propellent?

Date: Sun Jan 2 13:41:22 2000
Posted By: Artem Evdokimov, Postdoc
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 944155824.Ch

Dear Jon,

Since you did not specify what kind of rocket - I will try to give a short 
list of possibilities.

Small solid-fuel rockets (such as used for model rocketry and fireworks) 
often use black powder, which is a mixture of KNO3, S and C. A number of 
alternative fuels, based on large-scale rocket propellants has been 
developed as of late, see next sections.

Medium size rockets, such as used for weather studies and by military often 
use solid fuels based on KClO4 or NH4ClO4, in a polymer matrix (polymer 
serves as fuel). A number of solid fuels based on hydrazine complexes with 
hydroborates are used in hybrid rocket engines, the oxidant can be N2O5 or 
H2O2 as well as (outdated) 100% HNO3.

Finally, large-scale rockets use a fine-tuned mixture of NH4ClO4, Al powder 
and polymer, with traces of metal oxides to increase the burning rate. 
Liquid fuel rockets often use H2 and O2, or hydrazine and O2, H2O2 or HNO3 
as well as methylhydrazine - borohydride - peroxide, or methyl hydrazine - 
borohydride - N2O5 hybrid compositions.

Hope it helps. Please remember that most of the chemicals listed above are 
highly toxic.  Exposure will result in torturous death or grevious injury.



Current Queue | Current Queue for Chemistry | Chemistry archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Chemistry.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-2000. All rights reserved.