Part II : 1950 -1957

5. NACA Research on High-Energy Propellants



Research Conference on Supersonic Missiles


[78] On 13 March 1952, the NACA held a research conference at the Lewis laboratory to present the latest results of research pertaining to supersonic missile propulsion. Papers on turbojet and ramjet propulsion dominated the meeting, but there was one paper on the status of liquid-propellant rocket engines by Gerald Morrell and Vearl Huff. Their paper covered propellants, combustion, and cooling-the three subjects of NACA research. Experimental performance data for rocket engines using ammonia and ammonia-hydrazine mixtures as fuels and liquid fluorine as the oxidizer were presented. With respect to high-energy propellants in general, the authors stated:


The high specific impulse [exhaust velocity] propellant systems Iive of greatestpromise for application in long-range missile propulsion; recommendations forpropellant systems which require development include hydrogen-oxygen,hydrogen-fluorine, and ammonia-fluorine. Experience with these systems is still in the early experimental stages, but the performance obtained to date is encouraging. With the hydrogen-oxygen system, other laboratories (JPL, Aerojet and Ohio State) have obtained 96 to 97 percent of the theoretical specific impulse calculated for equilibrium expansion; that is, maintenance of chemical equilibrium is assumed during the expansion process. Experiments with the hydrogen-fluorine system in a 100-pound-thrust [445 newton] engine at JPL have yielded equally good performance.15