Highly Durable Catalysts for Ignition of Advanced Monopropellants

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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


Monopropellants are readily ignited or decomposed over a bed of solid catalyst. A serious limitation of existing catalysts in the ignition of advanced monopropellants is limited thermal stability. The recent emphasis on improved performance of monopropellant technology (e.g., with AF M315E and LGP 1846), has led to the need for advanced materials possessing exceptional properties. Increased specific impulse monopropellants will require ignition catalysts possessing exceptional thermal stability and ruggedness: Existing alumina supported iridium catalysts do not possess these characteristics. This proposed SBIR Phase I will be addressed to the further development of thermally stable high temperature ignition catalysts, optimization of their mechanical strength and erosion resistance, and employment in small propulsion devices. Eltron previously identified a catalyst which displayed activity comparable to alumina supported iridium (Shell 405) but which tolerates temperatures in excess of at least 1900 degrees C, is markedly less dense, is precious metals-free, and is much less expensive. Phase II will optimize the catalyst, demonstrate activity and ruggedness with a number of monopropellant systems, scale up catalyst preparation, and conduct test firings with the catalyst system.