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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Ionic Liquid, Nontoxic Monopropellants for Power-Limited Spacecraft, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Ionic Liquid, Nontoxic Monopropellants for Power-Limited Spacecraft, Phase I
A key requirement of modern chemical energetic materials include enhanced performance, reduced sensitivities, and reduced toxicity. A class of compounds that meet these requirements is Ionic Liquids (ILs). The physicochemical properties of ILs enable their use in a variety of applications and energetic ionic liquids (EILs) is an area of intense research in the last decade. C3 Propulsion proposes the study and development of advanced ionic liquid, non-toxic monopropellants featuring an innovative combination of anions and cations that will enable high duty cycle, extended operation of power-limited spacecraft. This Phase I effort will demonstrate the feasibility of non-toxic monopropellants for power-limited spacecraft. This effort will build on a successful project that built and tested an on-demand EIL gas generator. The project will extend past work on non-toxic EIL monopropellants, test different anion/cation combinations to seeks optimization of the EIL, and conduct studies of the catalyst bed to identify the optimal distribution and modality. In Phase II, the development and optimization of the EIL monopropellant system will continue. This will include targeting improvement of the flow control valves, propellant injectors, and thrust chamber catalyst bed design for use with the selected low toxicity monopropellant. Programmatically, there will be an aggressive push towards flight-like hardware to ensure rapid maturation of the technology in order to meet the NASA mission goals. More »

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