Session

Technical Session VII: Propulsion

SSC13-VII-6.pdf (9865 kB)
Presentation Slides

Abstract

"Green" propellants based on Ionic-liquids (ILs) like Ammonium DiNitramide and Hydroxyl Ammonium Nitrate have recently been developed as reduced-hazard replacements for hydrazine. Compared to hydrazine, ILs offer up to a 50% improvement in available density-specific impulse. These materials present minimal vapor hazard at room temperature, and this property makes IL's potentially advantageous for "ride-share" launch opportunities where hazards introduced by hydrazine servicing are cost-prohibitive. Even though ILs present a reduced hazard compared to hydrazine, in crystalline form they are potentially explosive and are mixed in aqueous solutions to buffer against explosion. Unfortunately, the high water content makes IL-propellants difficult to ignite and currently a reliable “cold-start” capability does not exist. For reliable ignition, IL-propellants catalyst beds must be pre-heated to greater than 350 C before firing. The required preheat power source is substantial and presents a significant disadvantage for SmallSats where power budgets are extremely limited. Design and development of a "micro-hybrid" igniter designed to act as a "drop-in" replacement for existing IL catalyst beds is presented. The design requires significantly lower input energy and offers a smaller overall form factor. Unlike single-use "squib" pyrotechnic igniters, the system allows the gas generation cycle to be terminated and reinitiated on demand.

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Aug 14th, 9:00 AM

Hydrocarbon-Seeded Ignition System for Small Spacecraft Thrusters using Ionic Liquid Propellants

"Green" propellants based on Ionic-liquids (ILs) like Ammonium DiNitramide and Hydroxyl Ammonium Nitrate have recently been developed as reduced-hazard replacements for hydrazine. Compared to hydrazine, ILs offer up to a 50% improvement in available density-specific impulse. These materials present minimal vapor hazard at room temperature, and this property makes IL's potentially advantageous for "ride-share" launch opportunities where hazards introduced by hydrazine servicing are cost-prohibitive. Even though ILs present a reduced hazard compared to hydrazine, in crystalline form they are potentially explosive and are mixed in aqueous solutions to buffer against explosion. Unfortunately, the high water content makes IL-propellants difficult to ignite and currently a reliable “cold-start” capability does not exist. For reliable ignition, IL-propellants catalyst beds must be pre-heated to greater than 350 C before firing. The required preheat power source is substantial and presents a significant disadvantage for SmallSats where power budgets are extremely limited. Design and development of a "micro-hybrid" igniter designed to act as a "drop-in" replacement for existing IL catalyst beds is presented. The design requires significantly lower input energy and offers a smaller overall form factor. Unlike single-use "squib" pyrotechnic igniters, the system allows the gas generation cycle to be terminated and reinitiated on demand.