Ever since the Second World War in the compositionrocket fuel includes an extremely toxic and carcinogenic substance called hydrazine. Its presence eliminates the need for an ignition system — to create the thrust required for the movement of the rocket, it is sufficient to add some oxidizer. Scientists at McGill University believe that rocket fuel can be made much safer by using MOF metal-organic framework structures. Their proposed alternative could well become the standard type of rocket fuel of the future.
As a rule, modern rocket fuelsare based on hydrazine and react with oxidizing agents such as nitrogen tetroxide. They have been successfully used in various ballistic missiles, but they have a lot of various disadvantages. In addition to the increased risk of fire, they are very toxic: people immediately get irritated eyes, shortness of breath and nausea, temporary blindness and damage to the organs of the nervous system, liver and kidneys.
The worst thing is that the particles of this fuelalready harm people - the aerospace industry annually releases into the atmosphere about 12,000 tons of hydrasive fuel. That is why scientists from all over the world are trying to develop the safest alternative.
Recently proposed alternative is based onmetal-organic structures containing zinc, cobalt and cadmium. In this case, cetylene or vinyl substituents can be used as oxidizing agents. The researchers were able to create six types of MOF-based fuels that are tuned to different properties — for example, a certain ignition delay.
Scientists believe that the ratio of opportunitiesfine-tuning the characteristics and lack of carcinogens can make MOF-based fuels the safest alternative to existing options. It can be used in many space missions, but not for such lengthy ones as flights to Mars.
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