Launch Vehicle with Combustible Polyethylene Case Gasification Chamber Design Basis

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V. Yemets (2008), JBIS, 61, 32-38

Refcode: 2008.61.32
Keywords: Combustible launch vehicle, polyethylene tank

A single-stage launch vehicle equipped with a combustible tank shell of polyethylene and a moving propulsion plant is proposed. The propulsion plant is composed of a chamber for the gasification of the shell, a compressor of pyrolysed polyethylene and a magnetic powder obturator. It is shown that the “dental” structure of the gasification chamber is necessary to achieve the necessary contact area with the polyethylene shell. This conclusion is drawn from consideration of the thermo- physical properties of polyethylene, calculating quasisteady temperature field in the gasification chamber, estimating gasification rate of polyethylene, launch vehicle shortening rate and area of gasification. Experimental determination of the gasification rate is described. The gasification chamber specific mass as well as the propulsion plant weight-to-thrust ratio are estimated under some assumptions concerning the obturator and compressor. Combustible launch vehicles are compared with conventional launch vehicles taking into consideration their payload mass ratios. Combustible launchers are preferable as small launchers for micro and nano satellites. Reusable versions of such launchers seem suitable if polyethylene tank shells filled with metal or metal hydride fine dusts are used.

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