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Reply #8: N2H4 is a fuel, has been used in rockets ... [View All]

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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-11 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. N2H4 is a fuel, has been used in rockets ...
Edited on Mon Oct-03-11 01:17 AM by eppur_se_muova
along with MMH and UDMH. Hydrazine is a poor choice because it has too high a freezing point, and is unstable in anhydrous form.

For example, the Apollo LM and CSM used various hydrazine mixtures as fuel and N2O4 as oxidant -- a so-called hypergolic mixture, which ignites spontaneously.

What you are thinking of is that some nitrated fuels are oxygen-poor or oxygen-rich -- nitromethane, for example, is a monopropellant, with fuel and oxidizer combined in the same molecule. Just heat it and it decomposes, "burning" without external oxygen (this makes for simple rocket motors). But nitromethane (CH3NO2) actually does not have enough oxygen to convert all C to CO2 and all H to H2O (N forms N2).

"Nitro" used in drag racers is usually a mixture of nitromethane and alcohol -- the alcohol is needed to sustain normal combustion in an air-fed IC engine. With pure nitromethane, I seem to recall the engines can't be started. {correction: Evidently they can, and some dragsters use straight nitromethane.}

ETA: The OKC bomb was ammonium nitrate (also fuel and oxidizer combined, but oxygen-rich) and the additive was fuel oil. This is a commonly-used mixture in industrial blasting -- both materials are cheap, and the recipe is widely known.

edited after checking stoichiometry :blush:
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