A newly discovered molecule called trinitramid could be the key to a future rocket fuel that is 30 percent more efficient than current rocket fuel.
Scientists at Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden discovered this new molecule in the nitrogen oxide group -- only eight such compounds are known to include only nitrogen and oxygen -- while doing research on new rocket fuels.
The scientists realized that the new compound could be stable in solid form and, if so, could lead to rocket fuel that is 20 - 30 percent more efficient, could dramatically cut the greenhouse gas emissions from a shuttle launch and support a rocket with a much larger payload. A typical rocket launch entails emissions equivalent to 550 tons of concentrated hydrochloric acid.
The research team has been able to produce enough of the compound in a test tube for it to be detectable, but more will have to be produced and more tests will have to be conducted before its deemed stable enough.
written by Olivia, December 28, 2010
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