A chemical decision
|Good fuels burn in oxygen to release a great
deal of heat and produce gaseous products. As the chemical engineer of the
Australian Space Program you are asked to select a fuel for the Australian
Space Shuttle. You are given the following data.
5 grams of each fuel was tested by burning in pure
Fuel A is a solid which
spontaneously combusts in the presence of oxygen. In the absence of pure
oxygen fuel A is extremely stable.
Fuel B does not react with oxygen in the air, however in the presence of a catalyst, it reacts violently producing carbon dioxide and water vapour. Its boiling point is 10C, it is very corrosive and must be stored as a liquid
Fuel C is spontaneously combustible when mixed with oxygen.
It reacts readily with air to form an explosive mixture of gases. It is
safe when stored at -100C.
|Examine the data carefully. Decide which is the best
fuel for the Orbiter and in a report to your Boss state your reasons why
you have selected this particular fuel and why you eliminated the others.
1) A fellow scientist turns to you and says The fuels used in rockets must undergo EXOTHERMIC reactions when combined with oxidisers. Do you agree? Research what is an exothermic reaction and an oxidiser and offer an explanation
2) What is a catalyst? Does it have any special properties?