How do they make rocket propellant? An explanation:

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by prfesser, Jan 16, 2020.

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  1. Jan 16, 2020 #1

    prfesser

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    This is a question often asked on these forums. A brief description may help you realize the time, money, and effort in such work. Most propellant today is obtained from surface mining operations:
    upload_2020-1-16_12-40-22.png

    The overburden is removed and the crude propellant collected and dispensed into large piles.
    upload_2020-1-16_12-39-9.png

    The large chunks of propellant are ground to uniform size and stored aboveground...
    upload_2020-1-16_12-42-3.png

    ...until it is trucked to the propellant processing plant for storage and ultimate use.
    upload_2020-1-16_12-43-37.png

    Impure propellant (orange material) is carefully washed to remove impurities, and reground.
    upload_2020-1-16_12-44-51.png

    The clean propellant ordinarily coagulates into lumps, which are then melted and cast into blocks after certain additives have been incorporated.
    upload_2020-1-16_12-47-51.png

    In small operations casting is done by hand.
    upload_2020-1-16_12-46-11.png

    Now the propellant blocks are ready to be extruded into propellant grains, under high pressure.
    upload_2020-1-16_12-49-15.png

    In some equatorial countries propellant can be found on the surface. These men are hand-mining smaller chunks of surface propellant, which is usually purer than that found underground.
    upload_2020-1-16_12-50-34.png

    Small batches of "craft propellant" are produced daily in Ethiopia and a few other countries.
    upload_2020-1-16_12-52-37.png

    You're very welcome.:D
    Tongue-in-cheekily yours -- Terry
    (I'll probably regret constructing this...)
     
  2. Jan 16, 2020 #2

    rharshberger

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    Its good though!
     
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  3. Jan 16, 2020 #3

    pondman

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    I always thought it was elves in trees and detached garages......
     
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  4. Jan 16, 2020 #4

    Bat-mite

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    Wow. I knew it had to be something like that.
     
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  5. Jan 16, 2020 #5

    Viper3

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    O I wish it was so.
     
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  6. Jan 16, 2020 #6

    Steve Shannon

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    Terry,
    You’re salt of the earth!
    Steve
     
  7. Jan 16, 2020 #7

    aerostadt

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    Now, if only they could find anti-matter that way!
     
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  8. Jan 16, 2020 #8

    Bat-mite

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    i can sell you some ... cheap.
     
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  9. Jan 17, 2020 #9

    bobby_hamill

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    I thought these wee folk made the propellant inside a tree trunk :D



    th.jpg
     
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  10. Jan 17, 2020 #10

    ECayemberg

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    My goodness Professor! Now I know I've been doing it all wrong. This should be the catalyst to ECP volume 2! :);)
     
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  11. Jan 17, 2020 #11

    OverTheTop

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    Shouldn't this be in the restricted part of the forum :p.
     
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  12. Jan 17, 2020 #12

    Wayco

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    Could you share your formula for NaCl propellant? I'm going to LDRS this year, I could pick up a bunch of it!
     
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  13. Jan 17, 2020 #13

    dhbarr

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    Wow, those are some really spicy chemicals. Make sure to be extra safe, you don't want to be peppered with bits of test stand!
     
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  14. Jan 17, 2020 #14

    prfesser

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    Sure.
    55% common table NaCl
    23% kosher NaCl
    3% powdered sugar (trimodality gives better packing)
    0.1% lampblack opacifier
    11% Gulf wax (do NOT use candle wax, composition is uncertain)
    5% Crisco (Get the CAN not the sticks; composition varies)
    2.9% corn oil (plasticizer)

    Melt the wax first over indirect heat (no flames! flammable). Add the Crisco and stir until melted. Add the corn oil slowly, mixing thoroughly.
    While melted and under heat, add the dry ingredients about a third at a time, mixing thoroughly (by hand! DO NOT use any kind of power mixer!!)
    It will take a while for the dry ingredients to come to temperature and re-melt the binder.

    This formula is not pourable, it is packed into casting tubes and drilled in the usual fashion. May be somewhat hard to ignite.

    Best -- Terry
    ...who thought he had no ability to write fiction...
     
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  15. Jan 17, 2020 #15

    OverTheTop

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    If you added Cajun spices what color would the exhaust be?
     
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  16. Jan 17, 2020 #16

    Tobor

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    Red Hot?
     
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  17. Jan 18, 2020 #17

    MarcoPolo

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    Here I always thought Mabel did it....
     
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  18. Jan 19, 2020 #18

    Peartree

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    If you mix in enough siracha, will the motors burn today...


    ...and tomorrow?
     
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  19. Jan 19, 2020 #19

    cbrarick

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    you forgot to mention the binder. Here's a shot of processing it.
     

    Attached Files:

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  20. Jan 20, 2020 #20

    Pat Gordzelik

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    IMG_0933.JPG
    Yes!

    This propellant can even be used in a salt weapons. Pelosi is bound to shut us down..
     
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  21. Jan 20, 2020 #21

    jbr

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  22. Jan 20, 2020 #22

    Ez2cDave

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    Bobby,

    Now you've done it . . . That was "classified information" . . . Area 51 was just a "cover story" to conceal the existence of the Keebler "Tree Works" program !

    Dave F.
     
  23. Jan 21, 2020 #23

    cbrarick

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    Uh, oh...now you've done it Pat!
    the thread is going to be moved to the research section...

    why did you give away the special ingrediants?
     
  24. Feb 11, 2020 #24

    SecondRow

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    Dear Professor,

    I must say I’m disappointed. I followed your recipe, and the outcome was a complete failure. I admit I had to make some minor ingredient substitutes (didn’t have any lampblack opacifier in the pantry), but I am very surprised at the result. The propellant doesn’t even burn (please ignore what I used to cast the grains - it’s all I had at the time.

    If you have any suggestions (or maybe you forgot an important ingredient or step?), please let me know. Again, I’m very disappointed.

    My kids think it’s delicious, though.
    16E19B1B-062B-4AA4-A089-CE0CD90B25D4.jpeg
    I keep telling them not to eat the rocket fuel, but they won’t stop.
     
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  25. Feb 11, 2020 #25

    davel

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    Looks like some burned bits bottom center.
     
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  26. Feb 11, 2020 #26

    Bat-mite

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    CTI's new "Muff-Max" propellant.
     
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  27. Feb 12, 2020 #27

    Nytrunner

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    C-max*

    [*Carb-Max]
     
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  28. Feb 12, 2020 #28

    adrian

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    I tried making some propellant according to the recipe from prfesser. While it was hanging out to dry, some birds started pecking at it. They'd eaten a fair old chunk before I chased them off. Then they went to a neighbour's front door, where a bottle of milk had been delivered and not yet taken in, and the birds started pecking through the foil cap to get at the cream. Next thing I knew, the birds went near supersonic across the street and splatted into someone's garage door.

    I'm not sure exactly what part of the process was responsible for the fuel's performance. Some experimenting with milk additive is in order. If that doesn't work, the next rocket motor I use is going to look suspiciously like a well-fed budgie.

    (There is some historical evidence for the effectiveness of a bird's digestive system on rocket fuel. One account of the pirate Blackbeard refers to him feeding a parrot on a mixture of curry powder and coffee beans. The parrot would sit on his shoulder, near to the cannon fuses which Blackbeard stuck in his beard, then go screaming across the enemy ship's deck trailing fire and smoke.)
     
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  29. Feb 13, 2020 #29

    Alan15578

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    Hm. well there is mining guano from the far regions of South America, and collecting Sulfur from god know where. By comparison, good charcoal is easy to produce.
     
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  30. Feb 14, 2020 #30

    Sooner Boomer

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    Another word for sulfur is "brimstone", so perhaps that should be "from Devil knows where"...
     
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