Molecular Orbital Based Design Guidelines for Hypergolic Energetic Ionic Liquids
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB EDWARDS AFB CA AEROSPACE SYSTEMS DIRECTORATE
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Currently, monomethyl hydrazine is the most widely used hypergolic rocket fuel. Due to its high toxic vapor, there is a thrust towards developing low-toxic hypergolic fuels. Ultra-low vapor pressure ionic liquids are one such potential category of fuels. However, designing ionic liquid with ignition delay comparable to monomethyl hydrazine is a challenge, because fundamental understanding of the hypergolic nature of ionic liquids is far from clear. This work used the computed energy gap values between the highest occupied molecular orbitals HOMO of the anions for a series of ionic liquids and the lowest occupied molecular orbital LUMO of HNO3, and variation in the computed relative heats of formation, DHf, of these anions to develop correlations to predict hypergol activity between an ionic liquid fuel and nitric acid as the oxidizer. The observed trends in HOMOLUMO energy gap and DHf values can be used successfully to verify not only hypergolicity of known systems but also the lack of this phenomenon in OH and BF4 based ionic liquids. It was shown that through suitable substitution of electron withdrawing or electron donating groups in the anion, the energy gap and the DHf values could be tailored into an optimal range that would have a high probability for the new system to exhibit hypergolic reactivity. To validate our method, we suggest herein new ionic liquid structures for synthesis and experimental screening.
- Organic Chemistry