Is it possible for me to buy kerosene from a local store and then try to refine it to the extent where it would be considered RP1. If so how would I do it? For those who are wondering me and a group of friends is trying to make a model rocket with an actual engine(aka not store bought), but want to learn about the burning process first. In addition, what is the best oxidizer? We think liquid hydrogen is the best.
closed as off-topic by Machavity, Jack, Mark Omo, uhoh, Nathan Tuggy Jul 18 '18 at 2:22
This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:
- "This question relates to an amateur experiment of extreme danger. This community does not condone such experiments as there may be risk to your health (or even risk of death), and they may even be illegal in your jurisdiction. If you are considering making your own rocket propellant/fuel, please DO NOT DO THIS! Please see the help center." – Machavity, Jack, Mark Omo, uhoh, Nathan Tuggy
I'm going to start off with a warning: if you want to get started with model rocketry, it is about a thousand times safer and easier to start with off-the-shelf solid rockets. Don't even consider trying to build your own liquid fueled engine until you've learned a lot more.
That said, reaching the RP-1 specification from commercial kerosene is probably beyond what a novice chemist can reasonably attempt at home, but for simple liquid rocket engines you don't need RP-1.
Normal kerosene is problematic in regeneratively cooled engines (which pass the fuel through channels around the combustion chamber to remove heat) because some of the components vaporize at relatively low temperatures, while others polymerize; the deposits and gas bubbles so produced impair heat transfer, leading to overheating of the chamber walls, burn-through, and rapid failure.
It's much simpler to build a non-regeneratively cooled engine, which requires much lower combustion temperature; the ugly way to achieve this is to run the engine very fuel-rich, leaving much of the fuel uncombusted, which gives you a very sooty (and somewhat hazardous) exhaust. The better way is to use a different fuel entirely: the V-2 and Redstone rockets used 75% ethyl alcohol, 25% water, which is available from several sources -- perhaps most amusingly (if not the cheapest or purest) your local liquor store (e.g. Bacardi 151 or Everclear).
As Organic Marble alludes, the oxidizer of choice is liquid oxygen rather than hydrogen. This is also tricky stuff to handle; nearly anything you spill it on will become highly flammable if you're lucky and explosive if you're not.