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View Diary: ME 163 Komet. Last desperate hope or Planned point defence interceptor (56 comments)

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  •  I know quite a bit about hydrazine. (10+ / 0-)

    The Titan II was fueled by hydrazine.  That is some of the nastiest stuff I ever encountered.  When one of our birds blew up in the silo at Damascus, Arkansas, it was probably the biggest blast in the state of Arkansas since the Ozark mountains were active volcanoes.  

    If you click on the link, you will see the blast proof door is nowhere to be seen, and it was designed to withstand a hit by a nuclear weapon.

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:58:02 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Orange exhaust clouds (4+ / 0-)

      do not inspire confidence, although I suppose that might have come from the nitrogen tetroxide?

      Moderation in most things.

      by billmosby on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 06:23:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nasty stuff... (8+ / 0-)

      Some years back, an Atmel factory in Colorado Springs, CO, had a tank of the stuff (used in the manufacture of gate arrays) blow up, badly injuring an engineer.

      Atmel talked to the manufacturer, particularly about a second tank next to the first, that had not blown up. The mfr could make no guarantees about it, and suggested/reqested destroying it. The local authorities dragged it (carefully!) out into a field across the street, and with a huge variety of lights and sirens belonging to fire engines, police cars, and ambulances looking on, detonated it. It was probably the biggest convocation of emergency vehicles I've ever seen.

      The stuff is toxic, corrosive, explosive, and carcinogenic. Not for the faint of heart...

      •  Never in a hydrazine leak (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PrahaPartizan, KenBee, Otteray Scribe

        but I've worked in hangars where the stuff was used. The hydrazine drill alarm was stupefyingly loud and the areas you had to vacate to were either a really long way away or behind a thick wall that acted as a blast shield. Nasty stuff.

        But I'd much rather be working around hydrazine than concentrated hydrogen peroxide. Bloody lunatics, the T-Stoff crews.

        •  Oh, peroxide isn't *that* bad... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KenBee, Otteray Scribe, eyesoars

          You just need to have plenty of water around to dilute spills, and to put out the occasional small fire when it drips on your clothes :-)

          Seriously, German T-Stoff was nasty because of high impurity levels.  Pure HTP (high-test peroxide), 98% or above, is absolutely non-explosive, and fairly well-behaved as long as you treat it properly -- mainly, don't let it get contaminated with organics, and don't let it get trapped in a tank or pipe section with no vent.  It's also not particularly toxic (it'll bleach skin, but it doesn't poison you, and it's not a carcinogen) and it's about as environmentally benign as it's possible for something to be.  The British used HTP successfully as an oxidizer in the Black Arrow launch vehicle , and so have several private groups.  

          Hydrazine, on the other hand, is both toxic and carcinogenic -- but it was the only option for a truly storable monopropellant, and the best storable fuel, for a long time, so we learned to handle it, whereas we mostly forgot how to handle HTP after the 50's

          •  Strong oxidizers are fairly hazardous (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ER Doc

            ... they can and do behave very unpredictably. (As you say, however, mostly when they become contaminated with organics.)

            E.g., wooden lab benches soaked with perchlorates (sometimes over long periods) have been known to blow up. Liquid oxygen can also do similar things in short periods -- things like leather, asphalt, &c, soaked in liquid oxygen for a bit, can become explosive and detonate when struck.

            If you look on youtube, you can find videos of barbecue grills rather spectacularly destroyed with a match, cold charcoal, and a bucket of liquid oxygen.

    •  To be fair, the blast doors.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe

      were probably designed to resist external over-pressure, and should have been designed to give to internal pressure.

      That said, based on their weight alone, it still took a hell of a kick to knock them completely off.

      •  I worked on the design of those doors. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shortfinals

        They weighed 1.5 million pounds and ran on extra heavy duty rails.  The rail trucks were in pairs and there were two sets of the heavy duty railroad tracks.  If you notice, the tracks are gone as well as the enormous concrete pad that supported the door.  They found the blast door in several pieces.  Five feet thick and made of T-1 steel.  Hollow places inside the doors were filled with extra dense concrete.  I think the furthest place they found part of the door was about a half mile from the silo.

        The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

        by Otteray Scribe on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 02:37:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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