The Impact of Nitrogen Tetroxide Purification and Component Cleaning Techniques on Alleviation of Flow Decay Problems,
JET PROPULSION LAB PASADENA CA
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The flow decay problem associated with nitrogen tetroxide NTO has become an important factor in the design of small, bipropellant propulsion systems. The objective of the program established at JPL has been to alleviate this problem by 1 developing a process to purify NTO to a level of contamination which will minimize the precipitation of iron-contaminated species, and 2 establish component cleaning and passivation procedures which will prevent recontamination of the propellant. While a number of potential methods for purification of nitrogen tetroxide exist, the method employing molecular sieve column treatment appears to offer advantages of simplicity of implementation, relatively low cost, and, at this time, proven capability to operate in the field as well as the laboratory. In general, the molecular sieve adsorption column treatment of mixed oxides of nitrogen e.g., MON-1 and MON-3 results in little change in nitric NO concentration well within specifications, efficient removal of contaminant iron and other metals, efficient removal of water i.e., HNO3, and H20 when the column is activated, apparent removal of chloride impurity, and no introduction of deleterious material from leaching of the zeolites employed.