Thermally Resistant Catalytic System for Monopropellant Ignition

Period of Performance: 01/01/2002 - 12/31/2002


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Eltron Research, Inc.
4600 Nautilus Court South
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


This proposed Phase I addresses the catalytic ignition of monopropellants using solid solutions of metal oxides rationally selected from materials possessing functionalities amenable to the initiation of ignition as well as imparting thermal stability to the materials. It is anticipated that these metal oxide catalysts will readily ignite ionic monopropellants such as ammonium nitrate or hydroxyl ammonium nitrate (HAN) but will be thermally stable, resistant to sintering and loss of activity at high temperature and will be available at low cost. Incorporation of active metals into the crystal structure will result in high long life catalyst activity in part as a consequence of the high dispersion of these sites. Phase I will consist of the coarse screening of 18 - 24 catalysts representing a spectrum of compositions from a general composition anticipated to possess a refractory nature in addition to ignition activity. Identification of preferred variants will be followed by their optimization. Use in high specific impulse systems or long life thrusters is anticipated. These catalysts are expected to possess high activity not only for these ignitions, but also for catalytic combustion. Phase II would consist of extensive testing and optimization of preferred catalysts and application in model thrusters.