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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Catalytic Decomposition of Hydroxylammonium Nitrate Ionic Liquid: Enhancement of NO Formation

  • Author(s): Chambreau, SD
  • Popolan-Vaida, DM
  • Vaghjiani, GL
  • Leone, SR
  • et al.

© 2017 American Chemical Society. Hydroxylammonium nitrate (HAN) is a promising candidate to replace highly toxic hydrazine in monopropellant thruster space applications. The reactivity of HAN aerosols on heated copper and iridium targets was investigated using tunable vacuum ultraviolet photoionization time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometry. The reaction products were identified by their mass-to-charge ratios and their ionization energies. Products include NH3, H2O, NO, hydroxylamine (HA), HNO3, and a small amount of NO2at high temperature. No N2O was detected under these experimental conditions, despite the fact that N2O is one of the expected products according to the generally accepted thermal decomposition mechanism of HAN. Upon introduction of iridium catalyst, a significant enhancement of the NO/HA ratio was observed. This observation indicates that the formation of NO via decomposition of HA is an important pathway in the catalytic decomposition of HAN.

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