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Gas Generation by Chemical Reaction for Pressurizing Liquid Rocket Propellants


Bowie, James Monfort and Huestis, Gerald Stephen (1947) Gas Generation by Chemical Reaction for Pressurizing Liquid Rocket Propellants. Engineer's thesis, California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/7T6E-3D20.


This report is devoted to presenting the results of an investigation directed toward the design of a chemical gas generation system for the Wac Corporal. In this case the function of gas generation is to provide the necessary pressure to inject the propellants into the rocket motor.

The investigation indicates that gas can be generated in the main acid tank of the Wac by injection of a controlled amount of aniline to react with the acid. This aniline is injected at the bottom of the acid tank, and is supplied from a small pressure cell contained integrally with the injector and aniline flow regulator. Tests show that this system is able to regulate the flow of aniline into the acid tank to maintain a pressure on the propellants with ±20 psi. of the desired value.

A proposed package unit for installation on the Wac Corporal is shown in Fig 1. This unit contains all the parts necessary for the gas generation function, and its installed weight including the aniline, is estimated to be eight lbs.

The importance of the installation of such a unit on the Wac is seen when it is realized that the total weight of the gas generation system, including the acid used, will be approximately 25 lbs. This system will replace the 90 lb. air pressurization unit now being used to pressurize the propellants and it will represent a 65 lb. reduction in initial gross weight. Such a weight reduction will lead to greatly improved rocket performance.

This report does not attempt to determine the range of gross weights, over which gas generation systems will prove superior to other methods of propellant pressurization. It is felt, however, that a definite upper and lower limit on missile gross weight does exist for which gas generation will be applicable.

The Wac Corporal is a sounding rocket of 590 lbs. gross weight using red fuming nitric acid and aniline as propellants. It was designed at the California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Item Type:Thesis (Engineer's thesis)
Subject Keywords:Aeronautical Engineering
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Unknown, Unknown
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:June 1947
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-01232009-100935
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:310
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:26 Jan 2009
Last Modified:17 Mar 2023 17:58

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