Model rocket projects for aerospace engineering course: Propellant analyses

John C. Brewer, Ronaldo C. Reis, Ronaldo Limberger Tomiozzo, Masataka Okutsu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


As a subset of model rocket projects, analyses on the propellant are discussed. Notable activities proposed and carried out by our students include the infrared spectroscopy experiment that identifies the composition of the propellant and the extraction experiment that determines the mixture ratio of those substances. These experiments are practical yet rarely employed in model rocket projects, perhaps because the required equipment is typically not found in engineering labs but in chemistry labs. In these activities students integrate knowledge and skills across academic disciplines, and uncover what manufacturers of hobby rockets prefer to keep as a propriety secret: the exact chemical make-up of their motors, made of black powder. Thermochemical analyses of the propellant are also discussed. Activities presented in this paper are appropriate for university-level engineering courses, and require no prerequisite courses beyond the freshmen-level chemistry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication54th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624103933
StatePublished - 2016
Event54th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 2016 - San Diego, United States
Duration: Jan 4 2016Jan 8 2016

Publication series

Name54th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting


Other54th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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