Los Alamos National LaboratoryBradbury Science Museum
Your Window into Los Alamos National Laboratory
Bradbury Science Museum

Science on Tap - Next Generation Rocket Propellants

WHEN:
Dec 17, 2015 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
WHERE:
UnQuarked Wine Room
145 Central Park Square, Los Alamos, NM 87544, USA
SPEAKER:
Bryce Tappan, Los Alamos National Laboratory
CONTACT:
Linda Anderman
(505) 665-9196
CATEGORY:
INTERNAL:
Science on Tap happens every third Thursday

Event Description

Science On Tap happens every third Thursday of the month, featuring a new topic each week. It begins with an informal 15-minute talk and is followed by a lively group discussion.

Next-generation Rocket Propellants  

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists recently flight tested a new rocket design that includes a high-energy fuel and a motor design that also delivers a high degree of safety.

"What we're trying to do is break the performance versus sensitivity curve, and make a rocket that's both very high-energy, as well as very safe," said Bryce Tappan, an energetic materials chemist at the Laboratory. "Typically, when you look at a propellant that's high-performance, it's not as safe a material."

2:52


Conventional solid-fuel rocket motors work by combining a fuel and an oxidizer, a material usually rich in oxygen, to enhance the burning of the fuel. In higher-energy fuels this mixture can be somewhat unstable, and can contain sensitive high explosives that can detonate under high shock loads, high temperatures, or other conditions.

The new rocket fuel and motor design adds a higher degree of safety by separating the fuel from the oxidizer, both novel formulations that are, by themselves, not able to detonate.

"Because the fuel is physically separated from the oxidizer," said Tappan, "you can utilize higher-energy propellants."

A scientist in Los Alamos National Laboratory's High Explosives Science and Technology Group, Bryce Tappan has most recently been working on scaling-up the design, as well as exploring miniaturization of the system, in order to exploit all potential applications that would require high-energy, high-velocity, and correspondingly high safety margins.

Science On Tap

Join us at this Science on Tap beginning Thursday, December 17, at 5:30 PM at the UnQuarked Wine Room at 145 Central Park Square in downtown Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Science On Tap happens every third Thursday of the month, featuring a new topic each week. Sponsored by the Los Alamos Creative District and hosted by the Bradbury Science Museum, this series begins each evening with an informal 10 to 15-minute lecture followed by a lively group discussion. “On Tap” is a way for people to get out and about in the community, learn something new, and meet people with similar interests. Admission is free and open to the general public.