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Ionic Liquids as Hypergolic Fuels

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Abstract

In propellant systems, fuels of choice continue to be hydrazine and its derivatives, even though they comprise a class of acutely carcinogenic and toxic substances which exhibit rather high vapor pressures and require expensive handling procedures and costly safety precautions. Only recently (2008), ionic liquids (salts with melting points less than 100 °C) with the dicyanamide anion were shown to exhibit hypergolic properties (instantaneous ignition when contacted with oxidizers (100 % nitric acid, WFNA)). Such liquids tend to have low volatilities, and high thermal and chemical stabilities, and often exhibit long liquid ranges which could allow utilization of these substances as bipropellant fuels over a variety of conditions. A new family of dicyanoborates is presented, which can be synthesized in water, with substituted N-acyclic, N-cyclic, and azolium cations has met nearly all of the desired important criteria needed for well-performing fuels.

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