Catalyst Development for Hydrogen Peroxide Rocket Engines


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  • NASA  status
    (13.33%) (3 Votes)
    Views: (1506)   Date: (1999)   Pages: ()
  • Author:  Morlan  P. W.; Wu  P.-K.; Ruttle  D. W.; Fuller  R. P.; Nejad  A. S.; Anderson  W. E.  

  • Abstract:  The development of various catalysts of hydrogen peroxide was conducted for the applications of liquid rocket engines. The catalyst development includes silver screen technology, solid catalyst technology, and homogeneous catalyst technology. The silver screen technology development was performed with 85% (by weight) hydrogen peroxide. The results of this investigation were used as the basis for the catalyst design of a pressure-fed liquid-fueled upper stage engine. Both silver-plated nickel 200 screens and pure silver screens were used as the active metal catalyst during the investigation, The data indicate that a high decomposition efficiency (greater than 90%) of 85% hydrogen peroxide can be achieved at a bed loading of 0.5 lbm/sq in/sec with both pure silver and silver plated screens. Samarium oxide coating, however, was found to retard the decomposition process and the catalyst bed was flooded at lower bed loading. A throughput of 200 lbm of hydrogen peroxide (1000 second run time) was tested to evaluate the catalyst aging issue and performance degradation was observed starting at approximately 400 seconds. Catalyst beds of 3.5 inch in diameter was fabricated using the same configuration for a 1,000-lbf rocket engine. High decomposition efficiency was obtained with a low pressure drop across the bed. Solid catalyst using precious metal was also developed for the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide from 85% to 98% by weight. Preliminary results show that the catalyst has a strong reactivity even after 15 minutes of peroxide decomposition. The development effort also includes the homogeneous catalyst technology. Various non-toxic catalysts were evaluated with 98% peroxide and hydrocarbon fuels. The results of open cup drop tests indicate an ignition delay around 11 ms.

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