Paraffin as rocket fuel? Power of creative thinking

Bremen students working on self-developed rocket, which is accelerated by a non-toxic fuel.  Additional goal in the development was the reduction of costs, to make space for the private sector more attractive.

If fire flames impress your audience with long flame, which shoot out of her mouth, paraffin wax in the game. This fluid is non-toxic, so no danger for the artist, if he masters his craft and the flame actually just outside his mouth blazing.

Paraffin as rocket fueIt did to the Fiery characteristics of the material that is used in candles, students at the Center for Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) from the University of Bremen. You use it to shoot a 3.8 m long and weighing 80 kg rocket to an altitude of 4000 m. The launch is scheduled for 12 April. On March 24 the rocket Es-range began their journey in the Swedish Kiruna to the European spaceport.

Without carbon dioxide, cheap and really effective

Even if the students from a “green rocket” missile talk: full so it is not burning of paraffin with pure oxygen creates carbon dioxide and soot, however no further pollutants such as when normal rocket fuel. Due to the season the rocket named ZEpHyR, what so much as harbinger of spring and wind deity means within the framework of the project however for “ZARM Experimental Hybrid Rocket” in Greek mythology.

The development was part of the Star program, which is sponsored by the German Space Center (DLR) offers German University team the chance to experience outside of the classroom with homemade missiles in space research.

The Bremen students aims to develop of a rocket that is inexpensive and easy to handle.

But above all they were to stop toxic fuels such as hydrazine, that pollutes the environment with false starts. Under the star researchers, the Bremen are the only ones who try with paraffin. “Other European research teams go already similar paths, which clearly shows that this drive concept is great potential for future space projects,” says Peter Rickmers, who heads up the ZEpHyR project. Rickmers is head of the Group space drives and energy systems at the ZARM.

Parachute from the outdoor shop

The young Bremen researchers range where they could. The thrust jets they created with a 3D printer. They even built also the valves for oxygen. The electronic components for the self-designed control bought them in electronic trading. And they purchased the parachute which the rocket back to Earth floating leaves, in an outdoor store. 30 engine test were required to find the optimal blend of paraffin and oxygen.