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INVESTIGATION OF PRODUCTION AND CHARACTERISATION OF ALUMINIUM HYDRIDES (ALANE) - EXPRO PLUS

on 27 July 2015

ESA Open Invitation To Tender AO8330
Open Date: 21/07/2015
Closing Date: 02/10/2015

Status: ISSUED
Reference Nr.: 15.123.03
Prog. Ref.: TRP
Budget Ref.: E/0901-01 - TRP
Special Prov.: BE+DK+FR+DE+IT+NL+ES+SE+CH+GB+IE+AT+NO+FI+PT+GR+LU+CZ+RO+PL
Tender Type: C
Price Range: 200-500 KEURO
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate of Technical & Quality Manag
Department: Mechanical Engineering Department
Division: Propulsion & Aerothermodynamics Division
Contract Officer: Fernandez San Roman, Susana
Last Update Date: 21/07/2015
Update Reason: Tender issue

Aluminium hydride is a very promising product for the enhancement of some important propulsive performances for solid or hybrid propulsion. The high hydrogen content of the product has already been demonstrated to bring significant advantages in terms of Isp when alane is added to the fuel composition. There are also effects expected in the area of propellant grain regression rate, that plays a primary role in the performance of hybrid propulsion for instance. The limitation in the regression rate is recognised today as one of the main obstacles to a wider application of hybrid propulsion. There are however a number of issues that are to be tackled before alane can be included in operational applications: - it is difficult and therefore expensive to produce - its stability and compatibility with other propellant compounds is a subject of concern. It would be the objective of the work specified by the present activity proposal to investigate those aspects on a theoretical as well as an experimental basis. The first step would be to perform a comprehensive review of the possible methods that have been developed and tested to produce such a compound. As an alternative, it could be that suppliers are already existing, preferably in Europe, and ready to deliver the product. Then, depending on the previous alternatives, a method of small scale production or a supplier would be selected. If applicable, the contractor would perform or subcontract the build-up of the small production unit and produce a limited quantity of product for the next steps of characterisation. The next step would feature the basic characterisation of the product in terms of mechanical and chemical properties. The following characteristics of Aluminium hydrides (alane) will be investigated: - granulometry - stability - compatibility with other compounds - dissociation temperature - combustion temperature - enthalpy generation Finally, it is proposed to design and test a/several small scale motor, incorporating alane in a to be defined mass proportion, with the aim to demonstrate experimentally the propulsion performance enhancement that can be expected from this additive. The small scale motor could be based on the principle of solid propulsion or hybrid propulsion. The tests shall instrumented in such a way that the Isp and the regression rate could directly be measuredor calculated. On the basis of those experimental results, the activity will identify promising application cases and analyse the economical and technical feasibility as well as the possible enhanced performances that would be brought by alane. Procurement Policy: C(2) = A relevant participation (in terms of quality and quantity) of non-primes (incl. SMEs) is required. For additional information please go to EMITS news "Industrial Policy measures for non-primes, SMEs and R&D entities in ESA programmes".

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