Low Temperature Catalyst for Reduced Toxicity Monopropellant
Agency / Branch:
DOD / ARMY
The Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) has developed a series of low toxicity, tertiary amine azides - called CINCH (Competitive Impulse Non-Carcinogenic Hypergol) fuel - that are suitable replacements for hydrazines as hypergolic fuels and liquid gasgenerator fuels. The catalyst used for the state-of-the-art monopropellant hydrazine facilitates hydrazine decomposition at -40¿F. This same catalyst requires excessively high temperatures (300-400¿F) to decompose the CINCH fuel, resulting in unnecessaryoperational costs. It would be desirable to have a catalyst that is specific to the CINCH fuel that would cause it to decompose at -40¿F. METSS proposes to conduct a catalytic material study based upon the properties of the amine azides and demonstratethat effective catalysts can be synthesized that will decompose CINCH at -40¿F. Specifically, the work performed under the proposed program will emphasize the inorganic salt nature of amine azides and recent developments in nitrogen fixation chemistry toaccomplish this task. Based on our expertise in this area, METSS believes that the proposed efforts will result in a high activity, low cost catalyst that will decompose the CINCH fuel in a manner consistent with the current hydrazine-catalyst system.Thisproject will demonstrate a complete and cost effective replacement technology. With the appropriate catalyst, the CINCH fuel could be used domestically in satellites for thrust vector control and in reaction control systems to replace hydrazine thrusters.This chemistry could also lead to the development of an azide-sensitive coatings which could be used for fiber optics or other sensors for in military and commercial applications (e.g., automotive air-bags). Commercially available processing equipment andthe existing commercial market make the transition of this methodology into the commercial environment technically and financially feasible.
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