Chemistry
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Ignition! is a book by John Drury Clark detailing the history and science of propulsive rocket fuels from both a historical and first-hand perspective. The book is sprinkled with a wit and jest that makes it a very enjoyable read in the spirit of Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman!. It is also informative to both the layperson and the prospective astronautics engineer alike, as the exact chemicals used, their proportions, and benefits and downsides of them are detailed out in full.

The following are just a few of the chemicals referenced as rocket fuels or supplements that have either been considered theoretically or experimentally:

  • Aliphactic amines
  • Aluminum trimethyl
  • Aniline
  • Benzene
  • Dekaborane
  • Ether
  • Ethylene
  • Fuel oil
  • Gasoline
  • Hydrated ferric chloride
  • Hydrazine hydride
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Kerosene
  • Liquid hydrogen
  • Liquid oxygen
  • Lithium hydride
  • Lithium methoxide
  • Methane
  • Methanol
  • Methyl and ethyl alcohols
  • N methyl aniline
  • Nitric acid (red fuming nitric acid)
  • Nitrogen tetroxide
  • Nitromethane
  • Powered aluminum
  • Pyrocatechol
  • Tetrahydrofuran
  • Tetranitromethane
  • Toluidine
  • Triethylamine
  • Turpentine
  • Xylene
  • Xylidine

Concepts relevant to rocketry propulsion such as a melting point and vapor pressure are also mentioned.

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