Development of High Performance Hybrid Fuels
NASAís strategic goals call for innovation in space technology for our nationís explorative future. Early phase paraffin fuel technology could enable practical hybrid motor use by producing high regression rates. Further, the creation of a robust and novel fuel, that overcomes paraffin mechanical property drawbacks, would produce high payoffs. The proposed research specifically will investigate polymer addition to paraffin grains, study the particle entrainment theory, evaluate hydride and metal additives, and demonstrate hypergolic ignition. We hope to find that polymers strengthen the low mechanical properties of paraffin. We will design, build, and demonstrate an experiment in which particle entrainment can be seen and understood. We will evaluate additives to increase performance and facilitate reliable and hypergolic ignition. Outreach to student run clubs and undergraduate engineers will also play an integral role demonstrating the promise of paraffin propellants through sounding rockets. A high performance paraffin based grain is a game-changing technology that could lead to the economical use of hybrid rockets.