5
$\begingroup$

I understand that hydrogen peroxide (HTP) can be decomposed into superheated steam and oxygen using a catalyst, but I haven't been able to find any information on whether or not it will decompose in extreme heat, such as in a combustion chamber. I am aware that the rate of passive decomposition increases with temperature, but does it become instantaneous and feasible for combustion without instability?

$\endgroup$
5
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh thanks for the edit the question reads much better $\endgroup$ – Reuben Farley-Hall Nov 13 '20 at 6:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It's a really interesting question! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 13 '20 at 6:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Your question has just started in the Hot Network Question list and will probably receive much more attention especially since the weekend will start soon. It's okay to accept an answer at any time, but it's usually better to wait at least a few days and see what other answers are posted first. Quick acceptance can discourage others from writing additional answers. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 13 '20 at 11:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The question isn’t whether it will happen (hydrogen peroxide decomposes into water and oxygen atoms under STP conditions without needing a catalyst, that’s why bottles of it need to be vented and not air-tight, and the production of mono-atomic oxygen is why it’s useful as a disinfectant or bleaching agent), the question is whether it will happen at a sufficiently high and sufficiently stable rate to be useful in this context. $\endgroup$ – Austin Hemmelgarn Nov 13 '20 at 12:56
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Wikipedia says that the decomposition is already explosive below 423K. If anything, it might decompose too fast. $\endgroup$ – MSalters Nov 13 '20 at 13:17
10
$\begingroup$

HTP will sustain a combustion reaction without a catalyst once ignited, but it's not clear to me if the reaction proceeds quickly and smoothly enough to be a good idea for rocket combustion chambers.

As MSalters comments above, hydrogen peroxide "will undergo potentially explosive thermal decomposition" before reaching its theoretical boiling point, which is a very modest 423 K (150 ºC).

I found a good article on the topic: Thermal Decomposition of Hydrogen Peroxide, Part 1: Experimental Results. The details are somewhat beyond me but it looks like getting smooth and stable combustion was not easy.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.