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Preliminary Assessment Of Hydrogen Peroxide Gel As An Oxidizer In A Catalyst Ignited Hybrid Thruster

Jeongmoo Huh, Botchu V. S. Jyoti, Yongtae Yun, M. N. Shoaib, Sejin Kwon

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In regard to propulsion system applications, the stability of liquid propellants in long-term storage is of increasing importance, and this had led to a greater interest in gelation technology. As part of a preliminary test to determine the feasibility of using a gel propellant in a rocket with a catalyst bed, a hybrid rocket with a catalyst reactor using a gel propellant as an oxidizer was tested for the first time in this study. Experiments were conducted with two different oxidizers: one with liquid phase hydrogen peroxide and the other with gel phase hydrogen peroxide, as well as high-density polyethylene as fuel for a 250 N class hybrid thruster performance test. The thruster was designed with the catalyst ignition system, and a catalyst was manufactured to be inserted into the catalyst reactor to facilitate oxidizer decomposition. While the test result with neat hydrogen peroxide indicated sufficient decomposition efficiency using a manganese dioxide/alumina catalyst and successful autoignition of the fuel via the decomposed product, gel hydrogen peroxide exhibited insufficient decomposition and there were difficulties in operating the thruster as a part of the catalyst was covered in the gelling agent. This preliminary study identifies the potential challenges of using a gel phase oxidizer in a catalyst ignited hybrid thruster and discusses the technical issues that should be addressed in regard to a gel propellant hybrid thruster design with a catalyst reactor.