Monday, July 9, 2007

Warp 9 - A discussion of rocket motors

A rocket gets off to a very fast start on a new type of propellant - Warp 9

Rocket motors come in many different forms. There are disposable motors and re-loadable motors in which you keep some parts and build it yourself each time you fly. These have various pros and cons, and and move from largely disposable in the lower power levels to mostly reusable in the upper levels.

Motors are named a letter first, this is the total impulse (total power, size) of the motor. This starts out at A, and doubles with each letter after so that a B = 2As and a C = 2Bs. This continues as far as you want to go. Sometimes we discuss Nasa rocket motors and call them Ws or X motors. The largest hobby rocketry motor is the O, anything larger is no longer hobby but amateur. Next you have a number, the average impulse (or thrust) in Newtons. Newtons are a measure of force that can be converted into Lbs. Finally you may have a number, such as 5, 7, or 10. In some motors there is an ejection delay that automatically ejects the recovery system. This is very common in smaller motors (and almost universal in motors smaller than G), and the number represents the delay time in Sec. And after this you may have a letter such as T, SS, W, R.... This represents the type of propellant in the motor. Here is a list of the Aerotech types:

T - Blue Thunder Propellant - producing a violet blue flame (fast burning).
W - White Lightning Propellant - Producing a white flame with dense smoke (moderate).
J - Black Jack Propellant - producing dense black smoke (slow).
R - Redline Propellant - producing a bright red flame (moderate - fast).
And the new warp 9 as seen above - A very fast, clean burning propellant.

The warp 9 motors are so strong that they are ideal for getting rockets to high speeds.

*Edit* There is now a new propellant on the way out called Majve Green. Obviously it makes a green flame, it is moderate - fast burning like Redline, and has a very high ISP (efficient) like Warp 9. Great times we live in!


thimscool said...

Can the ejection charge also light another stage, or do you use another method?

If you are doing multi-stage rockets, is it advantageous to use fast burn propellants to shed the weight more quickly?

What type of propellant is in Warp 9?

R2K said...

In black powder motors, low power types for model rockets, you can use ejection charges to start the upper stage. I have seen a black powder rocket that uses something like a dozen D motors and three stages, it is still the most complex rocket I have seen at any power level.

High power motors use composite propellant that takes a ton of heat to start - more than black powder could create. So to stage composite high power motors, you need electronics to start the upper stage. This is actually better in many ways - it is more reliable.

Warp 9 probably has the same basic chemicals as others, but in different ratios and maybe with the addition of certain small amounts of chemicals to accelerate the burn. The science of motor color, smoke levels, and burn rates is similar to fireworks technology.

thimscool said...

That didn't look like a very happy landing.

I'll ask again about the rail gun... why not a no-fuel-on-board propulsion system?

I bet a cockroach would survive the g's.

thimscool said...

Thanks for the info.

It'll be a few years before I attempt hobby launch tech, due to other projects and current lack of a proper team.

It seems like electronics would be desirable for other capabilties as well, so I guess why not stage ignition timing...

R2K said...

Electronics are great for recovery of rockets in many ways. Ejection, altitude and performance information, even some that just make a scream sound so you can find it.