“A rule of thumb is that for every ten-percent increase in efficiency for rocket fuel, the payload of the rocket can double. What’s more, the molecule consists only of nitrogen and oxygen, which would make the rocket fuel environmentally friendly. This is more than can be said of today’s solid rocket fuels, which entail the emission of the equivalent of 550 tons of concentrated hydrochloric acid for each launch of the space shuttle,” says Tore Brinck, professor of physical chemistry at KTH.
Trinitramid – that’s the name of the new molecule that may be a component in future rocket fuel
Working with a research team at KTH, he discovered a new molecule in the nitrogen oxide group, which is not something that happens every day. It was while the scientists were studying the breakdown of another compound, using quantum chemistry computations, that they understood that the new molecule could be stable.
“As mentioned, what is specific to this molecule is that it contains only nitrogen and oxygen. Only eight such compounds were previously known, and most of them were discovered back in the 18th century. This is also clearly the largest of the nitrogen oxides. Its molecular formula is N(NO2)3, and the molecule is similar to a propeller in shape,” says Tore Brinck.
The research team, consisting of Martin Rahm and Sergey Dvinshikh as well as Professor Istvan Furó , besides Tore Brinck, has now shown how the molecule can be produced and analyzed. The scientists have also managed to produce enough of the compound in a test tube for it to be detectable.
“It remains to be seen how stable the molecule is in a solid form,” says Tore Brinck.
It was during work to find an alternative to today’s solid rocket fuel that the researchers found the new molecule. The findings are now being published in the respected journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201007047.
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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