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High Performance Propellant Development - Overview of Development Activities Regarding Premixed, Green N2O/C2H6 Monopropellants

Negri, Michele and Werling, Lukas and Lauck, Felix and Goos, Elke and Wischek, Janine and Besel, Yasuko and Valencia-Bel, Ferran (2022) High Performance Propellant Development - Overview of Development Activities Regarding Premixed, Green N2O/C2H6 Monopropellants. In: 8th Space Propulsion Conference Estoril, Portugal. 8th Space Propulsion Conference Estoril, 09-13. Mai 2022, Estoril, Portugal.

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Abstract

The global search for green alternatives to the highly toxic monopropellant hydrazine (N2H4) is still ongoing. Different alternatives for hydrazine with different degrees of maturity are currently under investigation. One of these alternatives are mixtures of nitrous oxide and fuels. These propellants offer a high performance (Isp approx. 300 s), low propellant costs and are non-toxic. In the frame of the ESA activity High Performance Propellant Development, DLR investigates a premixed N2O/C2H6 propellant and assesses the safety and performance properties of the mixture. To study the propellant properties DLR built a liquefaction and mixing setup which allows condensation, pressurization and mixing of liquid N2O and C2H6. The produced propellant mixture was used to feed a thermal stability, a material compatibility as well as a priming/water hammer test setup. Furthermore, the gaseous propellant was used to conduct ignition test under vacuum conditions. A last work package included hot runs with liquefied N2O/C2H6 propellant supplied to a monopropellant like setup from a single tank. Despite the premixed nature of the propellant, the thermal stability tests showed no decomposition or combustion of the propellant. The compatibility testing of the propellant with metal alloys Al 2219, Ti64, and stainless steels SS 316 and CRES-15-5 showed no degradation of the material or propellant. In addition, the polymers PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene), Kalrez and FEP (Fluorinated ethylene propylene) were tested, here only FEP was incompatible with the propellant. The priming/water hammer tests also showed no decomposition or combustion of the propellant, even for supply pressures of up to 60 bar. The ignition tests under vacuum conditions showed a reproducible, good ignitability of the propellant in a 22 N research thruster. The mixture was ignitable for mass mixture ratios of ROF=4 to 11 while the mass flow was changed in between 4 g/s and 10 g/s. The final task was to conducted a series of hot gas combustion tests with an experimental 22 N thruster. The thruster was fed from a tank with liquified, premixed propellant. During 40 test runs, the propellant showed a reliable ignition and combustion behaviour. The mixture ratio of oxidizer to fuel in the test runs was in between 5.4 and 9.9 and showed very low combustion roughness and high combustion efficiencies (up to 96 %). Due to the positive results of the activity, the next step is the development of higher TRL thrusters and propulsion systems for the N2O/C2H6 propellant.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/187322/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:High Performance Propellant Development - Overview of Development Activities Regarding Premixed, Green N2O/C2H6 Monopropellants
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Negri, MicheleMichele.Negri (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-2204-9916
Werling, LukasLukas.Werling (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4353-2931
Lauck, FelixFelix.Lauck (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-6599-0805
Goos, ElkeElke.Goos (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Wischek, Janinejanine.wischek (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Besel, YasukoYasuko.Besel (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Valencia-Bel, FerranFerran.Valencia.Bel (at) esa.intUNSPECIFIED
Date:11 May 2022
Journal or Publication Title:8th Space Propulsion Conference Estoril, Portugal
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Status:Published
Keywords:Green propellants, nitrous oxide fuel blends, HyNOx, premixed monopropellant, nitrous oxide, ethane, N2O, C2H6, ESA project, material compatibility, thermal stability, combustion tests, propellant mixing
Event Title:8th Space Propulsion Conference Estoril
Event Location:Estoril, Portugal
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:09-13. Mai 2022
Organizer:3AF
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Transportation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R RP - Space Transportation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Project Future Fuels - Advanced Rocket Propellants
Location: Lampoldshausen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Space Propulsion > Spacecraft and Orbital Propulsion
Institute of Combustion Technology > Chemical Kinetics and Analytics
Institute of Materials Research > Mechanical Testing of Materials
Deposited By: Werling, Lukas
Deposited On:07 Jul 2022 08:04
Last Modified:30 Nov 2022 14:29

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