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Aluminum the Rocket Fuel of the Future

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posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 01:06 AM

Researchers are developing a new type of rocket propellant made of a frozen mixture of water and "nanoscale aluminum" powder that is more environmentally friendly than conventional propellants and could be manufactured on the moon, Mars and other water-bearing bodies

The aluminum-ice, or ALICE, propellant might be used to launch rockets into orbit and for long-distance space missions and also to generate hydrogen for fuel cells, said Steven Son, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University.

Purdue is working with NASA, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and Pennsylvania State University to develop ALICE, which was used earlier this year to launch a 9-foot-tall rocket. The vehicle reached an altitude of 1,300 feet over Purdue's Scholer farms, about 10 miles from campus.

Science never ceases to amaze me. Breakthroughs in rocket technology and space exploration viability go hand in hand. Better safer cheaper rockets could open the oppertunity for much more exploration. . . .

edit to andd source

[edit on 8-10-2009 by constantwonder]

posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 03:11 PM
i belive most solid rocket fuels are already Al based, but this
stuff is very interesting

posted on Oct, 10 2009 @ 09:51 AM
Cool stuff, but you've got a typo in your title. The stuff is called aluminium

posted on Oct, 11 2009 @ 05:22 AM
reply to post by punkinworks

It's true. Modern solid rocket fuel is aluminum and ammonium perchlorate. so aluminum is also the rocket fuel of the present and past, back to the 1960s.

This is interesting, though, because it's water and aluminum powder. It sounds like a great idea to me. The aluminum will strip the oxygen atoms out of the water to become aluminum oxide, and releasing quite a bit of energy, and then that and free hydrogen are ejected as propellant. Hydrogen is the best propellant because it is the lightest element. This should give a bit better specific impulse than today's APCP propellant.

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