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SpaceVidcast Daily 12.10.09

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Remember when you were a kid and you would wrap yourself up in foil believing that it made you a space man? Well, aluminum is helping you become a space man... just not in the way you think. Purdue, NASA, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and Pennsylvania State University are all working together on a new rocket propellant called ALICE. Not named for anyone's girlfriend or mother, the name ALICE comes from what the propellant is made out of: frozen mixture of water and "nanoscale aluminum" powder. Get it? AL-ICE? Yeah. The idea is that it is even more environmentally friendly than conventional propellants and could be made on other planets or moons that have water. The key to the propellant's performance is the tiny size of the aluminum particles, they have a diameter of about 80 nanometers. The nanoparticles combust much faster than larger particles and enables better control over the reaction and thrust. And the best part? It's pretty much a green propellant, producing hydrogen gas and aluminum oxide as exhaust. For those rocket scientists out there, it works very much like the solid rocket boosters we now have. The mixture starts as a paste and gets molded into a cylinder with a rod in the middle. Then once frozen the rod is removed. During use there is an igniter rocket that sends the hot gasses down the hole where the rod used to be, in order to ignite the propellant evenly. A chemical reaction between the water and aluminum provides the thrust in the ALICE propellant. As the aluminum ignites, the oxygen and hydrogen provided by the water fuels the combustion until all of the aluminum powder is burned. It's being said that ALICE might replace some liquid or solid propellants, and, when perfected, might also have a higher performance. And it's also very safe for transport because while it's frozen it's difficult to accidentally ignite. For more information and to continue the conversation join us at www.spacevidcast.com. Or join us for our live show this Friday at 2:00 am Coordinated Universal time. Remember to convert to your local time zone or check the Spacvidcast website for details.

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 27 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Benjamin Higginbotham
Director: Benjamin Higginbotham
Views: 177
Posted by: spacevidcaster on Oct 12, 2009

Purdue, NASA, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and Pennsylvania State University are all working together on a new rocket propellant called ALICE. Not named for anyone’s girlfriend or mother, the name ALICE comes from what the propellant is made out of: frozen mixture of water and “nanoscale aluminum” powder.

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