Non-toxic monopropellants have been developed that provide better performance than toxic hydrazine. Formulations based on hydroxylammonium nitrate (HAN) have superior performance as compared to hydrazine with Isp (261 seconds, 12% greater), higher density and volumetric impulse, lower melting point, and much lower toxicity (No self contained breathing apparatus required). HAN based monopropellants require higher chamber temperatures (2083K vs 883K) to combust. Current hydrazine based combustion chamber technology (Inconel or niobium C103 and silicide coating) and catalyst (Shell 405) are inadequate. However, current state of the art iridium lined rhenium chambers are compatible with monopropellants and new ignition techniques are being developed. The goal of the SBIR project is fabricate and test a flight weight thrust chamber for HAN based monopropellants.
Potential NASA Commercial Applications: Rocket nozzles for satellites and military. Commercial applications are crucibles, heat pipes, propulsion subcomponents, x-ray targets, sputtering targets, turbines, rotors, furnaces, power generation, catalysts, etc.