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Combustion catalysts

  1. Nov 27, 2008 #1
    Something made me think today, are there any catalysts for combustion?

    I know it depends on the fule (such as hydrocarbons) but I wanted to leave this open to any kind of fule - I was just interested if there are catalysts for combustion and if so, what fule and what are the catalysts???

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2008 #2


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    Fule? Do you mean fuel?
  4. Nov 27, 2008 #3
    yes i do, my bad
  5. Nov 29, 2008 #4


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    Combustion happens quickly and once the initial energy is provided the energy generated from the reaction propagates subsequent ones , why would you envision that a catalyst would be needed? I admit that I do not have much awareness in this area.
  6. Nov 29, 2008 #5
    iron oxide is one
  7. Nov 29, 2008 #6
    unless your thinking of thermite with the reaction of iron oxide and aluminium (which isn't a catalyst in that situation), what reaction does it catalyse?
  8. Nov 29, 2008 #7
    no, not thermite. i'm not a chemist, and i don't know the particulars, only that it is used as a catalyst in a solid rocket propellant. i'm sure you can find more info if you google, i probably shouldn't list the ingredients. one patent even pops up right away.
  9. Nov 30, 2008 #8


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    Unless I am missing something, iron oxide in this patent is not a catalyst, it rather stabilizes fuel before ignition.
  10. Nov 30, 2008 #9
    propellant catalysts :surprised , i'd have to be careful as they seem to be used mainly to convert fuels (thanks for pulling me up on that Borek, i did initially write the wrong thing) from solid to gaseous state and i want combustion to be aided but this is an awesome idea of an area to explore!!! Thank you very much!

    but still, iam open to anyother ideas/ suggestions:tongue:
  11. Nov 30, 2008 #10
    that was what was kind of bugging me at the back of my mind, a combustion catalyst would make everything more unstable with lower activation energy - which may not always work out for propulsion

    thanks Borek
  12. Nov 30, 2008 #11


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    Palladium and platinum have been used as combustion catalysts, especially finely divided ones and those supported on surfaces (alumina, for example). Basically, you could look at any catalyst that works for hydrogenation, isomerization and dehydrogenation and determine if it could survive intact after exposure to direct flame and oxidizing conditions. I would think that limits the field to the noble metals like platinum.
  13. Nov 30, 2008 #12


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    (bangs head on the wall) Obvious! There are those catalytic hand heaters in which gasoline is burnt without flame.
  14. Nov 30, 2008 #13
    yeah, it's not a typical application. i used to have a list of the the ingredients used in the SRBs on the shuttle, and i'm pretty sure iron oxide was listed as a catalyst, but i can't find it atm.
  15. Nov 30, 2008 #14
    awesome, thank you chemisttree, thats exactly what iam after! And thank you too, Borek, i had no idea such things existed but i'll look into them.

    Also, Proton Soup, thanks for your help and if you ever do find that list, I would be most interested if you could please send it to me in a private message :smile:
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