A propellant is basically an explosive substance that is used to make an object move. When propellants burn they release a lot of pressure and fire. The pressure and fire pass through a nozzle, which is the place where they are released in order to push an object like a rocket away from Earth. So in general, rockets work because of a controlled explosion. In almost all cases, solid propellants contain three substances. First there is an Oxidizer, which contains a large amount of Oxygen that supplies the Oxygen for the explosion. There are three oxygen atoms in the Oxidizer for Black Powder. The second element is a fuel, usually a hydrocarbon which is something that burns. Finally, solid propellants require a Binder which holds the Oxidizer and the Fuel together so that they do not fall apart.
When one is measuring the effectiveness of a solid propellant, one can look for the following traits to check a propellants effectiveness:
- Can it be manufactured from easily-obtainable substances?
- Is safe and easy to handle?
- Can it be easily stored?
- Will it be able to resist shock and varying temperatures?
- Is it flashless and smokeless
- Can it Burn and ignite all at the same time?
- Will it avoid absorbing water?
- Will it maintain a constant burning surface?
If anyone has made a propellant that fits all these categories, it would be as great of a scientific achievement as splitting the atom. Some of these qualities can be obtained at the direct expense of others, depending on what kind of job that you need.
Solid propellants can be classified into two types: Restricted Burning and Non- Restricted Burning. Restricted Burning propellant has some of its inside covered with some sort of inhibitor. This makes the propellant burn from the bottom to the top, thus producing an overall slower burning. With slower burning you get a low power for a long...