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Química Nova

Print version ISSN 0100-4042On-line version ISSN 1678-7064


VIEIRA, Ricardo; PHAM-HUU, Cuong; KELLER, Nicolas  and  LEDOUX, Marc J.. Carbon nanofibers a new catalyst support for hydrazine decomposition. Quím. Nova [online]. 2003, vol.26, n.5, pp.665-669. ISSN 0100-4042.

Today satellites propulsion is based on the use of monopropellant and/or bipropellant chemical systems. The maneuvering of satellite is based on the hydrazine decomposition micropropulsors catalyzed by metallic iridium supported on g-alumina. This reaction is a surface reaction and is strongly exothermic and implies that the operation of the micropropulsor is controlled by the mass and heat diffusions. For this reason and for the fact that the propulsor operation is frequently in pulsed regime, the catalyst should support high pressure and temperature variations within a short time period. The performance and the durability of the commercial catalyst are jeopardized by the low thermal conductivity of the alumina. The low thermal conductivity of the alumina support restricts the heat diffusion and leads to the formation of hot spots on the catalyst surface causing the metal sintering and/or fractures of the support, resulting in loss of the activity and catalyst destruction. This work presents the synthesis and characterization of new carbon composite support for the active element iridium, in substitution of the commercial catalysts alumina based support. These supports are constituted of carbon nanofibers (30 to 40 nm diameter) supported on a macroscopic carbon felt. These materials present high thermal conductivity and mechanical resistance, as well as the easiness to be shaped with different macroscopic shapes. The mechanical stability and the performance of the iridium supported on the carbon composite support, evaluated in a laboratory scale test in hydrazine decomposition reaction, are superior compared to the commercial catalyst.

Keywords : carbon nanofiber; hydrazine; catalytic decomposition.

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