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Miscellaneous: Solid rocket fuel

For the production of this compositon, one needs to prepare potassium nitrate, sucrose, a scale, a coffee grinder, a beaker in which the composition will be heated, a heat source, and a spoon or something similar for stirring.

The ratio by which KNO3 and sucrose are mixed, is 6.5:3.5. So, in order to make 100 grams of this composition, 65 grams of potassium nitrate and 35 grams of sucrose are weighed out on a mechanical scale.

solid rocket fuel

After weighing, the ingredients were separately powdered in the coffee grinder. Before going on to the grinding of the second ingredient, the coffee grinder was cleaned. In this case, the grinding intervals were reduced to about 1 minute at a time to avoid excessive coffee grinder heating.

solid rocket fuel

After that, the ingredients were mixed together, and then poured in a glass jar, which was then closed and shaken thoroughly.

After the mixture was ready, the heat source was turned on (this part should be done outdoors). The steel beaker was than placed on the heating pad, and a small portion of the composition was added. The temperature is slowly increased until the moment when the sugar in the mixture starts to melt. That temperature is then maintained and slowly more mixture is added. The mixture is thoroughly stirred with a spoon all the time to avoid hot spots, where the mixture could easily ignite.

solid rocket fuel

A good indicator that the temperature is too high, is the color change of the heated mixture. If a yellow color occurs, the temperature should be lowered a bit.

solid rocket fuel

If an orange coloration occurs, it is necessary to stop heating the mixture and remove it from the heat source while still stirring thoroughly. This kind of mixture isn't useful anymore, because by returning it to the heating source, ignition could easily occur. Usually it is enough to get the mixture to a sticky/dense state. When it reaches that state, it can be easily shaped to a desired form (either by using moulds or other similar equipment).

solid rocket fuel

On the picture above, one can see the result after 5-10 grams of this composition were ignited.

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