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ERIC Number: EJ1002937
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Rocket Scientist for a Day: Investigating Alternatives for Chemical Propulsion
Angelin, Marcus; Rahm, Martin; Gabrielsson, Erik; Gumaelius, Lena
Journal of Chemical Education, v89 n10 p1301-1304 Oct 2012
This laboratory experiment introduces rocket science from a chemistry perspective. The focus is set on chemical propulsion, including its environmental impact and future development. By combining lecture-based teaching with practical, theoretical, and computational exercises, the students get to evaluate different propellant alternatives. To complete the task, they need to use several important curricular concepts, such as the breaking and formation of bonds, redox reactions, and thermodynamics. They also apply basic computational electronic structure calculations to investigate the energetic content of hitherto nonexisting alternatives. Finally, actual chemical rocket propulsion is demonstrated through the assembly and testing of a model rocket motor, employing a commercially available kit. The full experiment was developed for upper-level high school classes and is completed in a 3-h lab period. The experiment, or parts of it, has also been successfully used both in undergraduate programs and continuing education for teachers. (Contains 3 figures.)
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A