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Controlling Non-Catalytic Decomposition of High Concentration Hydrogen Peroxide

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Technical paper

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Hydrogen peroxide H2O2 is a strong oxidizing agent. High concentration H2O2 or High Test Peroxide HTP has been used extensively in the past in propulsion applications as mono and bipropellant. At low temperature, HTP can be catalytically decomposed to water and oxygen. Drawbacks to this approach include catalyst poisoning due to the presence of stabilizers in HTP, and susceptibility of the metal catalyst to melting because of the intense heat release. This renders the use of catalysts not only inconvenient but also quite expensive. An alternate approach for HTP decomposition is thermal, where no catalyst is required. HTP decomposition is accompanied by the production of enormous amount of heat that often leads to runaway reactions and subsequent explosion. If the rate of thermal decomposition can be controlled, the ensuing technology would prove to be a viable and inexpensive alternative to using catalysts. This technology has the potential to replace any device that decomposes H2O2 catalytically. Also, the controlled thermal decomposer can be used as an accelerator to heat any substance quickly at the expense of very low power. In order to control non-catalytic HTP decomposition, a deeper understanding of the chemical mechanism for H2O2 decomposition must be developed. The current work reports the development of detailed kinetic steps for HTP decomposition over a wide range of temperature and pressure. The resulting mechanism is then used to perform CFD simulations of a commercial HTP decomposer patented by Pratt Whitney to explore safe operating conditions. A similar strategy can be applied to model COIL technology.

Subject Categories:

  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Thermodynamics

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