Decomposition of monopropellant blends of hydroxylammonium nitrate and imidazole-based ionic liquid fuels

Steven P. Berg, Joshua L. Rovey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Potential dual-mode monopropellant/electrospray-capable mixtures of hydroxylammonium nitrate with ionic liquid fuels [Bmim][NO3] and [Emim][EtSO4] are synthesized and tested for catalytic decomposition in a microreactor setup. The setup is benchmarked using a 30% hydrogen peroxide solution decomposed via silver catalyst. Results show similar trends but with variance in the quantitative data obtained in the literature. This was found to be a direct result of the sample-holder geometry. Hydrazine decomposition was conducted on an unsupported iridium catalyst. The same trends in terms of pressure-rise rate during decomposition (̃160 mbar/s) are obtained with unsupported catalyst but at 100 °C instead of room temperature for tests conducted on supported catalysts in the literature. For the [Bmim][NO 3]/hydroxylammonium nitrate propellant, rhenium catalyst preheated to 160 °C yielded a pressure-rise rate of 26 mbar/s, compared to 14 mbar/s for iridium catalyst and 12 mbar/s for no catalyst at the same temperature. [Emim][EtSO4]/hydroxylammonium nitrate propellant shows slightly less activity at 160 °C preheat temperature, yielding a pressure-rise rate of 20, 4, and 2.5 mbar/s for injection onto rhenium, iridium, and the thermal plate, respectively. Final results indicate that desirable ignition performance may potentially be obtained by using a supported rhenium catalyst.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-135
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Propulsion and Power
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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