Hybrid rocket

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A hybrid rocket is a rocket with a rocket motor which uses propellants in two different states of matter - one solid and the other either gas or liquid. The Hybrid rocket concept can be traced back at least 75 years.[1]

Hybrid rockets exhibit advantages over both liquid rockets and solid rockets especially in terms of simplicity, safety, and cost.[2] Because it is nearly impossible for the fuel and oxidizer to be mixed intimately (being different states of matter), hybrid rockets tend to fail more benignly than liquids or solids. Like liquid rockets and unlike solid rockets they can be shut down easily and are simply throttle-able. The theoretical specific impulse(Isp) performance of hybrids is generally higher than solids and roughly equivalent to hydrocarbon-based liquids. Isp as high as 400s has been measured in a hybrid rocket using metalized fuels.[3] Hybrid systems are slightly more complex than solids, but the significant hazards of manufacturing, shipping and handling solids offset the system simplicity advantages.


Basic concepts

In its simplest form a hybrid rocket consists of a pressure vessel (tank) containing the liquid propellant, the combustion chamber containing the solid propellant, and a valve isolating the two. When thrust is desired, a suitable ignition source is introduced in the combustion chamber and the valve is opened. The liquid propellant (or gas) flows into the combustion chamber where it is vaporized and then reacted with the solid propellant. Combustion occurs in a boundary layer diffusion flame adjacent to the surface of the solid propellant.

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