A New Generation of Carbon-Containing Hypergolic Fuels Based on Water-Ignitable C-NaH Mixtures

Author(s): Athanasios B Bourlinos

Carbon is an energetic, plentiful, cheap, non-toxic and non-corrosive material that is however scarcely used as solid fuel in hypergolic propellants for rocket engines, probably due to the luck of hypergolicity and ignition difficulties. Taking into consideration that carbon hypergolicity is a rare phenomenon in the literature, herein is presented a new type of carbon-containing hypergolic compositions based on water-ignitable C-NaH mixtures. In these formulations, carbon might be fullerenes C60, multiwall carbon nanotubes MWNTs, charcoal or active carbon, whereas sodium hydride NaH and water react exothermically upon contact to trigger carbon combustion and ignition of the mixtures at ambient conditions. Hence, carbon allotropes appear as potentially new solid fuels in hypergolic propellant compositions, meriting further attention in this direction.

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