MadSci Network: Engineering

Re: what is a good fuel for a rocket?

Date: Sat Jun 14 17:30:00 2003
Posted By: Artem Evdokimov, Research Scientist
Area of science: Engineering
ID: 1053245578.Eg

Dear Steven,

First of all, if you do not have anyone close to you to advise you as to 
how to build a model rocket, than you probably should *not* attempt 
anything of the sort because of the possibility to injure yourself and 

The question that you ask is non-specific, which further belies ignorance 
in the art of model rocket construction, which, again, is worrying.

The 'best' fuel naturally would depend on the application. If you're 
building a professional-grade high-altitude rocket, you might employ 
composite fuels, or perhaps polymer-perchlorate compositions, or even 
liquid fuels/liquid oxidizer combinations. I suspect thought that this is 
not what you have in mind. For loq-level model rocket applications, the 
best motors are those that are pre-made and are available commercially 
(but these may not be available in your country). If you're going to make 
your own motors you first and foremost *must* check if what you're 
intending to do is legal and that you have approval of your school and 
parents, because otherwise you may end up in more trouble than you 
bargained for. Then, your next step would be either to locate a 
pyrotechnic/rocketry enthusiast somewhere in the area, or, if you utterly 
fail at that, locate a couple of pyrotechnical books. Low-level rockets 
can employ black powder-derived compositions, or somewhat more exotic 
mixtures including even the famous sugar-KNO3 mixtures that are described 
on several webpages such as e.g.

Again, I cannot overemphasize the importance of knowing what you're doing 
*before* doing it because even the mildest high-energy material is 
potentially deadly.

Please contact me directly if you would like to continue to communicate 
on the subject.


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