Nitrous Oxide Explosive Hazards
Technical paper (preprint)
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB EDWARDS AFB CA PROPULSION DIRECTORATE
Pagination or Media Count:
A recent incident caused us to evaluate the subject of nitrous oxide N2O hazards. Use of N2O for rocket propulsion seems to be a continuing interest. Accounts of serious, large system N2O accidents are mysterious since technically satisfying explanation of how the incidents occurred seems lacking. Inadequacy of technical information for serious N2O incidents indicates that safety practice understanding beyond current knowledge is needed. At a minimum, application of some safety practices used with high pressure oxygen systems, but not specified with N2O operations, may provide some safety improvements. Experimental investigation to gain recognition of large quantity N2O explosive and ignition traits may be the only way to ensure large N2O system safety. Prior hazard and monopropellant decomposition studies largely indicated that N2O was difficult to initiate into dangerous monopropellant decompositions. Based on prior studies and use of N2O for decades in dental practice without serious incidents, many people have considered use of N2O as safe. Early explosive hazard studies did not indicate a serious explosive nature for N2O. Inadequacy of historical N2O hazard study experiments was that they used too small volumes in their studies. N2Oorganic mixtures.
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Ammunition and Explosives