Rocket Fuels Essay, Research Paper
My research project will be titled “Chemical Rocket Fuels” and will explain the advantages and disadvantages of different types of rocket fuels. It will further explain each kind of fuel and will show their backgrounds and functions. The written project will explain the past of rocket fuels and their chemical makeup. The visual aid of my project will show what a rocket engine looks like and the chemical processes that the fuels go through. My visual will be a tri-fold presentation featuring pictures of the different type of rocket fuel engines. There will also be text consisting of the different types of fuels more commonly used today and fuels used in the past. Furthermore, a more detailed description of ancient rockets and fuels will be shown in the written portion of the research project.
There are many different types of rocket fuels, or propellants. Propellants are chemical mixtures that are burned to produce thrust to move rockets. All propellants contain a fuel and an oxidizer. The fuel is what is being burned and the oxidizer is the oxygen, or oxygen equivalent, that is used to burn the fuel. This is how a rocket, unlike any other engine, can operate in space s vacuum. It is also why the technology of space travel is rocketry. Propellants are arranged based upon their state, which can be liquid, solid, or hybrid. Hybrid propellant engines represent a halfway group between solid and liquid engines. One of the substances is solid, usually the fuel, and the other, usually the oxidizer, is a liquid. The advantages of liquid rocket fuels are that they provide a higher specific impulse, can be restarted easily, and are able to be stopped easily. On the other hand, solid rocket fuels are more reliable due to fewer moving parts. Also, they are easier to operate. Some different types of liquid propellants are liquid hydrogen, nitrogen tetroxide, nitric acid, liquid oxygen, kerosene, hydrazine, monomethyl hydrazine, and dimethyl hydrazine. Each of the different fuels have different oxidizers in order for them to burn properly. Examples of solid propellants are powdered aluminum, cordite, balisdite, and SRB propellant. The burning of the fuels have to produce enough thrust to get the rocket off of the ground through the atmosphere. Thrust is the force the rocket develops and is measured by newtons, pounds, or tons. A solid fuel rocket uses a solid mixture of fuel and oxidizer while a liquid fuel rocket has one container for the fuel and one container for the oxidizer. Although there are differences between each of the different rockets, each have a nozzle, which increases the thrust of the rocket by increasing the speed of the exhaust.
The earliest solid rocket fuel was a form of gunpowder, and the earliest recorded mention of gunpowder comes from China around the year 3 BC. These premature solid fuel rockets were just the beginning for the first chemical warfare and future voyages into space. In the 13th century, the Mongols used fire arrows made with a base that was a rocket. This rocket base was supposedly the first combustion chamber. Throughout the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries, these undeveloped rockets made their way through most of Europe. By the late 17th century, the Dutch were experimenting with solid fuel rockets composed of a gunpowder-like dust. Before the turn of the 20th century, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky derived the fundamental rocket equation. Presumably during the American Civil War, Jefferson Davis witnessed the take-off a 12-foot-long, solid-fueled rocket, carrying ten pounds of gunpowder in a brass case engraved with the letters CSA. No one ever saw the rocket land. This happened almost 100 years before Sputnik, a satellite marked with the initials of the Confederate States of America was launched into orbit around the earth. Later in history, the first flight of a liquid-fuelled rocket was recorded in Massachusetts. Robert Goddard launched it. Wernher Von Braun experimented with solid-fueled rockets and was a key factor in the launch of the Explorer I and John Glenn s orbital space flight. The success of these different types of rockets, no matter how ancient, led to the Sputnik launch, Explorer I launch, Saturn V launch, Apollo 11 Launch to the Moon, and many more.