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Published on : Apr 09, 2019

In a recent development, researchers have found possibilities to create a safer and cleaner rocket fuel. The new fuel uses simpler chemical "triggers" than its predecessors and is still equally effective. The triggers in the new fuel unlocks the energy of a class of porous solids known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). They are a compound of metal ions and an organic molecule known as linker.

.Space missions have become important for every nation today as they display the economic and technological prowess of a nation. To send spaceships, organizations rely on the energy of hypergols. Hypergolic fuels depend on hydrazine, a toxic and highly unstable combination of nitrogen and hydrogen atoms. Though it is a highly combustible compound, it is hazardous to people who work with it. As a result, members of the space industry have to wear a special suit. Despite every precaution, aerospace industry ends up releasing approximately 12,000 tons of hydrazine in the atmosphere every year.

Will the New Fuel Perform as Efficiently as Hypergols?

According to Tomislav Friscic, it is a new approach to develop highly combustible fuels which are not only safer, but also have lower ignition temperature. Rapid combustion is a prime necessity that every rocket fuel must have. Tomislav Friscic is a professor of chemistry in McGill. He is also the co-author of a research paper along with a former McGill researcher Robin D. Rogers.

Although the technology is in its nascent stages, results of the experiments in laboratories open up possibilities to develop a new class of clean and tunable rocket fuel. A post-doctoral fellow working in Friscic's Lab, Hatem Titi, said this. Friscic is working to commercialize the technology and will associate with McGill and Acsynam which is a spin-off company from his laboratory.