This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at Air/Kerosene

Oxidiser: Air. Oxidiser.Comments: Ambient air (78 % nitrogen, 21% oxygen, etc.) is scooped up by air intakes and used in turbojet, turbofan, ramjet, scramjet, or other airbreathing engines as an oxidiser.
Fuel: Kerosene. Fuel Density: 0.81 g/cc. Fuel Freezing Point: -73.00 deg C. Fuel Boiling Point: 147.00 deg C.

In January 1953 Rocketdyne commenced the REAP program to develop a number of improvements to the engines being developed for the Navaho and Atlas missiles. Among these was development of a special grade of kerosene suitable for rocket engines. Prior to that any number of rocket propellants derived from petroleum had been used. Goddard had begun with gasoline, and there were experimental engines powered by kerosene, diesel oil, paint thinner, or jet fuel kerosene JP-4 or JP-5. The wide variance in physical properties among fuels of the same class led to the identification of narrow-range petroleum fractions, embodied in 1954 in the standard US kerosene rocket fuel RP-1, covered by Military Specification MIL-R-25576. In Russia, similar specifications were developed for kerosene under the specifications T-1 and RG-1. The Russians also developed a compound of unknown formulation in the 1980's known as 'Sintin', or synthetic kerosene. Rocket propellant RP-1 is a straight-run kerosene fraction, which is subjected to further treatment, i.e., acid washing, sulphur dioxide extraction. Thus, unsaturated substances which polymerise in storage are removed, as are sulphur-containing hydrocarbons. Furthermore, in order to meet specification requirements of density, heat of combustion, and aromatic content, the kerosene must be obtained from crudes with a high naphthene content. RP-1 is an excellent solvent for many organic materials. The flash point is above 43 deg C. Above that temperature RP-1 will form explosive mixtures with air. The temperature range for explosive mixtures (rich limit) is 79 to 85 deg C. RP-1 is not so toxic as the JP series of fuels because of its lower aromatic content. In the United States, suitable kerosene fractions in 1960 were limited almost exclusively to the West Coast. The estimated 1956 United States production was 7700 tonnes, and the price was $0.05 per kg. By the 1980's it was typically $ 0.20 per kg. Russian formulations have typical densities of 0.82 to 0.85 g/cc, and even higher densities were achieved in the N1 and Soyuz 11A511U rockets by superchilling the fuel prior to loading.

Engines Using Air/Kerosene

Eng-engineslink Thrust(vac)-kgf Thrust(vac)-kN Isp-sec Isp (sea level)-sec Designed for Status
EKR Ramjet 625 6.13 1,580   First Stages Design concept 1953-54
RB-211-22B 3,000 29.40 9,900   First Stages In Production
XRJ47-W-5 3,401 33.40 1,200   First Stages Out of Production
RJ47 4,551 44.60 1,200   First Stages Out of Production
J57-8 4,625 45.40 1,414   First Stages Out of Production
J79- 5 4,671 45.80 2,020   First Stages Out of Production
Atar 9K 4,897 48.00 2,020 1,836 First Stages Out of Production
XJ40-WE-1 4,943 48.50 1,800   First Stages Out of Production
J79-17 5,383 52.80 2,020   First Stages Out of Production
J57-19 5,487 53.80 5,142   First Stages Out of Production
F100-100 6,512 63.90 1,552   First Stages In Production
J75-17 7,301 71.60 1,800   First Stages Out of Production
F101 7,709 75.60 1,980   First Stages In Production
RD-012U 7,750 76.00 1,500   First Stages Out of Production
J93-3 8,843 86.70 2,084   First Stages Out of Production
R-31 9,297 91.20 2,073   First Stages Out of Production
RD-018 10,000 98.00 1,500   First Stages Out of Production
RD-020 10,600 103.00 1,500   First Stages Developed -1957
RD-36-41 16,150 158.40 1,980   First Stages Out of Production
JT9D-3A 21,292 208.80 10,939   First Stages Out of Production
NK-231 23,100 226.50 1,980   First Stages Out of Production
D-18T 23,396 229.40 9,000 8,000 First Stages Out of Production

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Last update 3 May 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .