|MadSci Network: Chemistry|
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on hydrazine complexes with hydroborates are used in hybrid rocket engines, the oxidant can be N2O5 or H2O2 as well as (outdated) 100% HNO3.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. Sincerely, A.G.E.
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