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Nitrous Oxide/Paraffin Hybrid Rocket Engines
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Author and Affiliation:
Zubrin, Robert(Pioneer Astronautics, Lakewood, CO, United States);
Snyder, Gary(Pioneer Astronautics, Lakewood, CO, United States)
Abstract: Nitrous oxide/paraffin (N2OP) hybrid rocket engines have been invented as alternatives to other rocket engines especially those that burn granular, rubbery solid fuels consisting largely of hydroxyl- terminated polybutadiene (HTPB). Originally intended for use in launching spacecraft, these engines would also be suitable for terrestrial use in rocket-assisted takeoff of small airplanes. The main novel features of these engines are (1) the use of reinforced paraffin as the fuel and (2) the use of nitrous oxide as the oxidizer. Hybrid (solid-fuel/fluid-oxidizer) rocket engines offer advantages of safety and simplicity over fluid-bipropellant (fluid-fuel/fluid-oxidizer) rocket en - gines, but the thrusts of HTPB-based hybrid rocket engines are limited by the low regression rates of the fuel grains. Paraffin used as a solid fuel has a regression rate about 4 times that of HTPB, but pure paraffin fuel grains soften when heated; hence, paraffin fuel grains can, potentially, slump during firing. In a hybrid engine of the present type, the paraffin is molded into a 3-volume-percent graphite sponge or similar carbon matrix, which supports the paraffin against slumping during firing. In addition, because the carbon matrix material burns along with the paraffin, engine performance is not appreciably degraded by use of the matrix.
Publication Date: Mar 01, 2010
Document ID:
20100009666
(Acquired Mar 11, 2010)
Subject Category: MAN/SYSTEM TECHNOLOGY AND LIFE SUPPORT
Report/Patent Number: MFS-32542-1
Document Type: NASA Tech Brief
Publication Information: NASA Tech Briefs, March 2010; 16; (SEE 20100009649)
Financial Sponsor: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center; Huntsville, AL, United States
Organization Source: Pioneer Astronautics; Lakewood, CO, United States
Description: 1p; In English
Distribution Limits: Unclassified; Publicly available; Unlimited
Rights: Copyright; Distribution as joint owner in the copyright
NASA Terms: NITROUS OXIDES; ROCKET ENGINES; HTPB PROPELLANTS; LIQUID ROCKET PROPELLANTS; OXIDIZERS; PARAFFINS; FUELS; THRUST; SAFETY
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