Synthesis and Performance Characterization of a Non-Toxic Rocket-Grade Oxidizer Public

The focus of this research was to examine the impact of water content in a nitric acid oxidizer reacting with hydrocarbon fuels. Synthesis of varying concentrations of nitric acid is warranted since the supply of 99% white fuming nitric acid (WFNA) is no longer available. Even 90% WFNA has limited supply and is currently being examined in the laboratory-scale droplet and rocket experiments. Experiments with the 90% WFNA showed a longer ignition delay and a greater mass of propellants was required for the same performance as the 99%. Therefore, it was both cost- and time-effective to produce the oxidizer needed for the hypergolic rocket engine rather than to procure it from a supplier. An experimental setup and procedure had to be created to distill >99% white fuming nitric acid. Once the white fuming nitric acid was produced, density calculations and titration results were compared to determine the concentration of the oxidizer produced. Droplet testing was utilized to screen and compare the previous data to the performance of the distilled oxidizer before hot-fire testing in the hypergolic engine.

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