Black Powder Rocket Propellant

Black Powder Rocket

Black Powder Rocket Propellant

 

Black powder rocket propellant is very similar in make-up to the old fassion gun powder.  The main difference is a binder, usually dextrin.  The famous Estes model rocket engines are made with black powder propellant.  Black powder propellant must be pressed very tightly in order to function well.  Motors designed with black powder are most often end-burners, due to the fast burn rate of this propellant.  A common mix that works well is as follows:

Potassium Nitrate..................71.8%

Sulfur.................................13.45%

Charcoal..............................13.8%

Dextrin................................0.95%

 

And a dextrin-free simple version (same as old black powder):

Potassium Nitrate..................75%

Sulfur..................................10%

Charcoal...............................15%

 

PURCHASE A BLACK POWDER MANUFACTURING KIT!

 

Advantages:

  • Good performance, fast burn rate, high impulse
  • End burner
  • Dry-press

Disadvantages:

  • More expensive compared to KNO3/sugar
  • Harder to make than KNO3/sugar
  • Harder to make very large reliable motors compared to APCP or ANCP

Cautions:

Mixes not pressed correctly have a tendency to burst motor casings.

 

 

 

Interesting Facts:

Black powder is the oldest formulation of propellant, discovered in China during the 9th Century AD.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.  Encyclopedia Britannica, Black Powder, 10/14/2009

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 June 2012 13:44
 
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