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Powdered aluminum and oxygen rocket propellants: Subscale combustion experimentsAluminum combined with oxygen has been proposed as a potential lunar in situ propellant for ascent/descent and return missions for future lunar exploration. Engine concepts proposed to use this propellant have not previously been demonstrated, and the impact on performance from combustion and two-phase flow losses could only be estimated. Therefore, combustion tests were performed for aluminum and aluminum/magnesium alloy powders with oxygen in subscale heat-sink rocket engine hardware. The metal powder was pneumatically injected, with a small amount of nitrogen, through the center orifice of a single element O-F-O triplet injector. Gaseous oxygen impinged on the fuel stream. Hot-fire tests of aluminum/oxygen were performed over a mixture ratio range of 0.5 to 3.0, and at a chamber pressure of approximately 480 kPa (70 psia). The theoretical performance of the propellants was analyzed over a mixture ratio range of 0.5 to 5.0. In the theoretical predictions the ideal one-dimensional equilibrium rocket performance was reduced by loss mechanisms including finite rate kinetics, two-dimensional divergence losses, and boundary layer losses. Lower than predicted characteristic velocity and specific impulse performance efficiencies were achieved in the hot-fire tests, and this was attributed to poor mixing of the propellants and two-phase flow effects. Several tests with aluminum/9.8 percent magnesium alloy powder did not indicate any advantage over the pure aluminum fuel.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Meyer, Mike L.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 1993
Subject Category
Propellants And Fuels
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:106439
Meeting Information
Meeting: JANNAF Combustion Subcommittee Meeting
Location: Monterey, CA
Country: United States
Start Date: November 15, 1993
End Date: November 19, 1993
Sponsors: Joint Army-Navy-NASA-Air Force Combustion Subcommittee
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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