Attractions of monopropellants

2018-08-23

in Bombs and rockets

A monopropellant is a liquid which contains in itself both the fuel and the oxidizer, either as a single molecule such as methyl nitrate, CH3NO3, in which the oxygens can burn the carbon and the hydrogens, or as a mixture of a fuel and an oxidizer, such as a solution of benzene in N2O4. On paper, the idea looks attractive. You have only one fluid to inject into the chamber, which simplifies your plumbing, your mixture ratio is built in and stays where you want it, you don’t have to worry about building an injector which will mix the fuel and oxidizer properly, and things are simpler all around. But! Any intimate mixture of a fuel and an oxidizer is a potential explosive, and a molecule with one reducing (fuel) end and one oxidizing end, separated by a pair of firmly crossed fingers, is an invitation to disaster.

Clark, John D. Ignition! An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants. Rutgers University Press Classics, 2017. p. 7 (italics in original)

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