Remember the guy with the cool DIY astronaut ice cream build? He’s back with a mini hybrid rocket engine that runs off oxygen and acrylic.
I built a small rocket engine for demonstration purposes. The engine is built from a 2″ diameter acrylic rod through which I drilled a 0.5″ hole. The oxygen at 80 psi or less is passed through the hole and then is forced through a convergent-divergent nozzle at the tail end. The nozzle’s throat is about 0.25″ and expands to 0.625″. I lit the engine by inserting a burning cotton swab (with wooden stick) while a small amount of oxygen was flowing. The acrylic catches fire very easily in a pure oxygen environment. The engine can be throttled and shut off completely, which is a major benefit to hybrid engine designs. Solid-fuel rockets cannot be throttled or shut off, which makes them difficult to control.
Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on Google+ if you'd like.
- Published 10/12/12