Army Develops New Fuel
Redstone - February 23, 2000 - The Army announced today the development of a low-toxicity fuel that ignites on contact (hypergolic) with nitrogen tetroxide or inhibited red fuming nitric acid (IRFNA).

A recent test successfully demonstrated that the experimental fuel could be used in satellite launchers that use Aerozine-50, a carcinogenic hypergolic fuel.

Known as Competitive Impulse, Non-Carcinogenic Hypergol or CINCH, the new fuel has been in development since 1994, and is a safer all-purpose replacement for a wide variety of hydrazine and hydrazine-based fuels.

"CINCH is extremely versatile and can be used in many rocket propellant applications," Darren Thompson, Aviation and Missile Command Chemical Engineer said.

"In 1998 CINCH was successfully tested in a monopropellant thruster. Theoretical calculations also indicate that CINCH performs better than RP-1 with hydrogen peroxide or liquid oxygen."

Marshall Space Flight Center has conducted a preliminary evaluation of the fuel and demonstration projects with Edwards Air Force Base and the Marshall Space Flight Center are planned, using hydrogen peroxide and liquid oxygen with CINCH.

NASA plans to pursue the concept of using CINCH with several different oxidizers, and as a monopropellant in a satellite launch vehicle. This concept would greatly reduce logistical costs, since only one fuel would be necessary for an entire mission.

Unlike many developmental fuels, CINCH is commercially available. For example, 3M has a pilot plant producing CINCH to meet numerous requests from liquid propulsion developers.

Funding from environmental research organizations has helped advanced the development of CINCH. The Army Acquisition Pollution Prevention Support Office funded CINCH research through 1999, while a pollution prevention joint effort, including DoD agencies and NASA, is currently funding the project.

  • Redstone Army Lab
  • Marshall Space Flight Center

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