titanium fuelled rockets?

Why isnt titanium used in rocket fuel? It should lie somewhere between
Al and Mg. But since it isnt im assuming theres a good reason, what is
it? Wouldnt it deliver more energy from binding with the N? which I
think it does a lot better then Mg & Al.
Not talking about spark comps here, just as a replacement for the
other metals.
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Hmmm... it might be dangerous and expensive to prepare in finely powdered form (like Mg but worse?), and would probably tend to produce a bright plume even so (_not_ what the usual seekers of dangerous expensive high-performnce propellants usually want!)
Besides, even powdered Ti would probably tend to introduce a risk of ignition into post-cure machining...
-dave w
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David Weinshenker
Sparking formulas apparently use something less fine than a powder, which is what the original post was asking about.
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IIRC Ti was the "secret sauce" in Silver Streaks.
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD" >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
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Bob Kaplow
Why isnt titanium used in rocket fuel? It should lie somewhere between Al and Mg. But since it isnt im assuming theres a good reason, what is it? Wouldnt it deliver more energy from binding with the N? which I think it does a lot better then Mg & Al.
I think... very hard, high melting point... NOT easy to make into a fine powder by the normal industrial processes.
It's a bit curious that MgAl alloys aren't used more often; they're so brittle that they'e even easier than Al or Mg along to reduce to powder.
Reply to
Bill Westfield
It's much more expensive, a serious spontaneous ignition hazard in finely powdered form, and a surface-burning material. Ok for making pretty sparks in the exhaust with (relatively) large flakes, not much good for energetic fuel. Titanium in rocket fuel is a notorious source of accidental ignition during cutting(in fireworks, ramming)operations.
It's true that titanium is the only metal that burns in pure nitrogen, but calcium when burned in air also forms mostly the nitride. Dunno about other reactive metals. But titanium still prefers oxygen and will preferentially consume it before the organic binder can burn if it gets the chance. It is probably possible to get a slurry of Ti in LN2 to work as rocket fuel, but there's no good practical reason to go through all the hassle to do it. (It no doubt would require Ti powder at pyrophoric levels of fineness in air). Unless you have tons of money and lab facilities and just want to be able to brag about it... +McG+
Reply to
Kenneth C. McGoffin
That is about to change.
The usual process for making Titanium metal from ore (rutile) is quite expensive--even more so than aluminum. But some bright spark has figured out how to decrease the number of steps required, and thus cut the cost quite dramatically.
Titanium dioxide is one of the most abundant elements in the earths crust. The only reason Ti metal is so expensive is the process that's required to turn the oxide ore into metal. First, you convert the TiO2 into titanium tetrachloride, then you react that with molten sodium, producing titanium "sponge" that is contaminated with NaCl. Then you wash it, and melt the sponge in an induction furnace, refine it, then alloy it
Reply to
Marcus Leech
Hmm, I remember titanium being a controlled strategic resource. You could not simply order tons of titanium plate and expect it to be delivered by Tuesday. Most of our titanium came or comes from Russia, but we are on friendlier terms with them now. To be fair, I think most of the titanium, then and now, ends up as paint pigment, lead being unpopular.
So what has really changed or is changing with regard to the cost and availability of titanium?
BTW, silver was produced as a byproduct of lead production, and helped keep film prices low when lead was being produce for gasoline.
I thought zirconium was what you actually wanted for your solid rocket propellant, but I forget why.
Reply to
Alan Jones
Zirconium makes whiter sparks than titanium. But it has reactivity issues, is generally even harder to come by, costs more and is too heavy(atomic weight) to use as a primary fuel.
I made some nice igniters with Zr powder. Works good for that. +McG+
Reply to
Kenneth C. McGoffin
SCM Chemicals has a huge titanium plant in Ashtabula Ohio, right near by Morton Salt. At least they did in 1991 when I had to go their for business that year. Banyan vines, ohh what a product, not.
Right down the street from a closed uranium processing plant, at least that was the scuttlebutt by workers. That part may be rumor, but Ashtabula was listed as the most dangerous and polluted place in the Midwest at one point in time.
If titanium is found in places were Salt is, it should be very plentiful ?
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Found a titanium/zinc fuelled rocket -
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I quote -"The rocket was powered by an experimental 5.5kNs solid propellant rocket motor using a zinc/titanium enhanced propellant formulation, and reached a recorded altitude of over 15,900 feet. The rocket recovered safely by parachute, 1/2 km downrange."
Get a load of the exhaust :)
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