A synthesis of iron oxide-graphene nanocomposite and its application as a catalyst for solid rocket propellant

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Sira Srinives
Apisit Karawek
Phimraphas Ngamsantivongsa


The solid-propellant rocket or solid rocket is a weapon with a propulsion mechanism that relies on solid fuels. The role of the burning rate catalyst is to facilitate oxidizer decomposition and promote the thrust force for the rocket. This research work focuses on developing an iron oxide/graphene composite. The iron oxide nanoparticles were synthesized and immobilized on a graphene oxide sheet, providing active surfaces for the burning rate reaction. Three types of iron oxide precursors, including iron(II)sulfate (FeSO4), iron(II)nitrate (Fe(NO3)2), and iron(III)chloride (FeCl3), were used. We utilized three techniques, including chemical reduction using aqueous (Process I) or ethanol in an aqueous solution (Process II) medium, followed by calcination and hydrothermal process (Process III) were applied. The composites were tested for their ability to catalyze a decomposition of ammonium perchlorate (NH4ClO4), an oxidizer, using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). In this study, the best results were obtained from iron oxide/graphene composites using FeCl3 as a precursor and synthesized via hydrothermal process. This was confirmed by a scanning electron microscope (SEM), which revealed 30-50 nm iron oxide nanoparticles decorated on graphene sheets. A great characteristic of the composite catalyst was the one-shoulder decomposition of ammonium perchlorate observed during the TGA experiment.


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S. Srinives, A. Karawek, and P. Ngamsantivongsa, “A synthesis of iron oxide-graphene nanocomposite and its application as a catalyst for solid rocket propellant”, Def. Technol. Acad. J., vol. 4, no. 10, pp. 58–69, Oct. 2022.
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