New Research on Rocket Fuel Paves The Way to Cleaner and Safer Combustible


New research published in Science Advances says that it may be possible to create a rocket fuel that can be much cleaner and safer than the ones used now. All the space stations and satellites use a substantial amount of hypergols. This substance is energetic and will ignite when it has contact with an oxidizer. The oxidizer is used as a replacement of oxygen that is not present in the space.

What contains a hypergolic rocket fuel?

First of all, a hypergolic fuel use now at space stations depends on a highly toxic and dangerous chemical compound – hydrazine. This substance is made from a combination of nitrogen and hydrogen atoms.

Second of all, the hydrazine is so carcinogenic that force the people who work with it to wear suits like the ones used for space travel. Unfortunately, around 12,000 tons of hydrazine fuel is being released in the atmosphere every year.

What is the new rocket fuel?

The new fuels are from a class of porous solids known as a metal-organic framework (MOFs). MOFs are using a simple chemical for initiating the energy of one of the hottest materials. They are made from clusters of metal ions and an organic molecule, known as a linker.

Tomislav Frisci, professor in the Chemistry Department at McGill, says that using this fuel in the future could be a cleaner method for making highly combustible fuels. Also, they aren’t significantly safer than the ones used now, but they have a quick response for combustion, and this feature is essential for a quality rocket fuel.

However, the project is in the early stages of work, so based on the lab result from those materials, they could develop a class of new clean and highly adjustable hypergolic rocket fuel for the entire aerospace industry. Also, the researchers are interested in commercializing this technology, and they are working hard to make it happen.


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