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International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion
ESCI SJR: 0.28 SNIP: 0.421 CiteScore™: 0.9

ISSN Print: 2150-766X
ISSN Online: 2150-7678

International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion

DOI: 10.1615/IntJEnergeticMaterialsChemProp.2019028004
pages 25-37


Felix Lauck
German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Space Propulsion, 74239 Hardthausen, Germany
Michele Negri
DLR, German Aerospace Center, Institute of Space Propulsion, Lampoldshausen, Langer Grund, 74239 Hardthausen, Germany
Dominic Freudenmann
German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Space Propulsion, 74239 Hardthausen, Germany
Stefan Schlechtriem
German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Space Propulsion, 74239 Hardthausen, Germany


A theoretical screening and experimental characterization of the hypergolicy of different ionic liquids in combination with highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide was conducted. The aim of the investigation was to find a possible alternative hypergolic bipropellant to substitute the commonly used hypergolic propellant combinations of hydrazines and dinitrogen tetraoxide. Highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide was chosen as a green oxidizer, and ionic liquids were chosen as alternative fuels. Ionic liquids offer very low vapor pressures compared to common fuels, which allows simplified handling procedures. The theoretical screening focused on commercially available ionic liquids. Criteria for the selection of ionic liquids included density, melting point, viscosity, and theoretical performance calculations. By means of these results 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate (BMIM Ac) was chosen for further investigation. Pure BMIM Ac was tested with the so-called drop-test method and did not show hypergolic behavior with hydrogen peroxide. Hence catalytic transition metals like acetate salts were dissolved in the ionic liquid. With different concentrations of copper (II) acetate hypergolic ignition was archived. The ignition delay time is in the order of several hundred milliseconds.


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