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back to article US Army working on 'exploding marmalade' missile tech

US military-funded rocket scientists have turned to food boffins and agricultural engineers for help in their effort to produce exploding marmalade, intended to fuel radical new missiles and spacecraft of the future. No, really. According to boffins at Purdue Uni in Indiana, there would be many advantages to rocket fuel with the …

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Paris Hilton

Purdue Uni

Purdue Uni - these were the guys that lit a BBQ in .01 of a second using 10 gallons of LOX (liquid oxygen) and a smoldering tab end. ( Ok they vapourised 80% of the chracoal but what was left was ready to be cooked on).

They also provided video of this spectacular effort (I won't supply a link, just search for BBQ and liqiud oxygen on google)

Good old George Goble..

Paris ? - even she wouldn't try anything quite so stupid (tho entertaining)

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oxo
Flame

Not Marmalade -you're just being funny

But I would say that a thixotropic gel would be just the ticket.

OXO

(ex-rocket scientist)

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Joke

I wouldn't have expected anything less.

With NASA it's always jam tomorrow.

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Coat

All this is fine and good

But what will it tase like on my toast?

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Boffin

Title..

what genius thought of this.

"We need something between a liquid and solid. What on earth could we use?"

"A Gel, perhaps...."

"Brilliant"

It's not rocket science...oh hold on, it is!

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Go

Squirting ?

They need experts on the process of squirting thick liquids through small nozzles.

Heck, I've been doing that since I was a teenager! HIRE ME DARPA !

Oh wait ......

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@ David Willis

Nice video. I love how they guys in the background go "Fire! Fire!" all Beavis & Butthead style.

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Alert

Extremely Dangerous

The rockets will always land marmalade side down.

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What about marmite?

Surely a better consistency to handle - my marmalade has always been a little too solid, but marmite never seems to set.

Tastes nasty though...

ttfn

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Boffin

@ Trevor Watt

Dude, at the velocity and force it will arrive at on your toast, you're worried about the *taste*?

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Exploding marmalade?

How is DARPA not involved in this?

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Coat

@Trevor Watt

it will be a taste explosion

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Flame

Marmalade powered missiles?

Surely this jam fuelled destruction concept is more in the realm of that bulging bonced bonkers boffin bureau - DARPA?

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Boffin

Hybrid?

So what type of rocket fuel are we talking about here? If its a hydrocarbon fuel for use with an oxidiser whats wrong with good ole vaseline?

Just inject/extrude it into the combustion chamber feed in the NOx and away you go....

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Paris Hilton

@Hybrid?

Vaselline !?! Oh, where is PH's phone number ?????

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Puts new meaning to the expression

Chocolate surprise

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Paris Hilton

Reports that Paddington Bear....

...has been hired to assist with the research are not as of yet confirmed!

Paris because she knows a thing or 2 about squirting thick liquids through a hole!

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Black Helicopters

Hmmm... seen this before

Oh yeah, they called it napalm. They could also just chill diesel to that point where it's not quite wax but I suppose the control scheme would be a bit extreme.

Black helicopter because I'm sure they're running it through their engines already.

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US Army playing catch-up with USAF, USN?

> the food and agriculture boffins come in. They're well accustomed to the problems of pumping jam, marmalade, pureed spuds, Dream Topping etc through advanced processing machinery by the thousands of tons;

at high speed with major turbulent flow problems - and then holding a lighted match to it?

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Linux

Would an exploding marmelade rocket lead to....

Picture yourself on a boat on a river

With tangerene trees and marmelade skies.....

Maybe the Beatles COULD see in to the future.......

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Flame

An explosive reaction, and...

Youre Toast

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Coat

What about Scaled Composite's stuff?

The boffins at Mohave have been using a throttled solid propulsion system all along. I wonder if the MIL SPEC folks are just avoiding this concept because it would make them look bad - they didn't think of it first, eh?

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Another problem with solid fuel,

is that it can't be monitored. Solid fuel rockets don't degrade as fast as fireworks do, but misfires can happen when an area of the fuel reacts with itself in storage and becomes dud. Unless the dud area is visible on the surface, there is no way to detect it (barring some sort of NMR scanner). And no, you can't take a core sample - the rocket then won't burn in the manner expected. With gel fuel, it will be possible to fuel up the rocket closer to anticipated use, stir up the fuel and take a sample in which any rogue reaction products will be detectable, and, if necessary, suck out the fuel, purge the plumbing, and refuel.

On another note, it should not surprise anyone that British comedians got to this first. There was a Goodies book featuring "5-star treacle essence" as aviation fuel, which the Goodies had to replace with their own invention, "Goody Goo", to beat a shortage. And I wouldn't be surprised if the Goons hadn't explored this at least once.

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sand?

They could look into granulated(?) solid fuels, I'm thinking something like sand. It could be throttled up and down etc. It's probably less messy than gel. They could use pressurized gas and nozzle size/shape to change the flow and other characteristics (% O2 etc.) Basically an "advanced" gunpowder/smokeless powder rocket.

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jon
Boffin

For all the amateur boffins

It's all about the physics of ketchup or thixotropy if you want to be more technical . Stable when at rest behaving like a gel but becoming fluid when agitated. The thing is though, who is s going to want a rocket with the instructions

'Shake well before use' ?

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Coat

Gel?

Err, surely they didn't think of napalm did they? (Yes, yes, for those of you in the peanut gallery I know that napalm is not a fuel, it is a slow-burn substance). What happens if the container leaks or ruptures and sprays gel fuel everywhere? Will it be easy to put out and not stick to everything?

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Tom
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Brute force and pig ignorance

I was under the impression that amateur rocketry had already solved this problem with PTFE/Nitrous Oxide: All the bang of a chemical booster with the control of a liquid fueled killer of the innocent.

Oh hang on there - its a 'need a specific use for something my freind has already invented' and I'm due for a big wack if I can pull it off contract.

You dont think the UK invented 'PFI for my best mate' do you?

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Boffin

@Brett Brennan

The problem with hybrid motors like the one SpaceDev provided for Space Ship One is that while their ISP compares favourably with conventional solids (250s v 270s for the Shuttle SRB), they don't really scale well for thrust. If you want to increase the thrust of a solid, you just make it longer (most solids burn along their entire length from inside out), while with liquid (or gel) propellants you increase the flow rate by using bigger pumps.

A hybrid requires you to increase the flow of oxidizer (which requires larger pumps) *and* increase the area of fuel (make it longer) - not to mention the difficulty of ensuring proper combustion along the entire length of the rocket.

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Flame

Would this be a bad time...

... to point out that Bayern-Chemie have already demonstrated Gelled Fuel Propulsion motors on the ground, and have a test flight planned for 2009?

Or that they also have a Throttleable Ducted Rocket already in production which has all of the same listed advantages, but with solid fuel?

Icon: test firing of a rocket motor ;-)

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Paris Hilton

Marketing exercise?

I for one salute the efforts of the rocket scientists to boost the popularity of my favourite breakfast comestible but I can't agree with their preference for shredless from a point of personal preference, marmalade just isn't right unless there are chunks of peel in it acting like speed bumps for your knife.

Mind you, lumps of peel exiting a rocket motor nozzle in excess of mach 20 could put a serious dent in your toast so I expect they are probably right, being rocket scientists and all.

Paris, she's no rocket scientist but I'd share my marmalade with her at breakfast any day.

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Boffin

NAPALM!

<German accent>That is all!</German accent>

Strangelovian mad scientist for obvious reasons

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Pum
Happy

Like marmalade without the rind ...

So, more like Lemon Curd, or runny honey, or swarfega :-)

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Paris Hilton

At last

I've been waiting for this for my rocket powered car. I predict it'll be marketed as Traffic Jam (TM)

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IT Angle

age old problems

Toast, Marmalade, You HAVE to have butter.

Speed bumps on my toast? That is just weird.

But I guess there is always the "smooth" and the "chunky" crowd (for you peanut butter lovers)

Now there is an idea... Use a "High Energy" Food. 'You know like peanut butter.

And not a word on "JUST How Volatile Orange Oil Is".

Try lighting orange zest oil with a lighter while squeezing an orange peel to make it squirt...

Maybe marmalade is not such a bad idea, BUT SPEED BUMPS?

I'm usually a chunky guy, but in this case I'll take SMOOTH.

PS: If you make a marmalade sandwich, it will ALWAYS fall bread side down.

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