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Thermal Decomposition of Hydrogen Peroxide

hydrogen peroxide Propulsion

thermal decomposition of hydrogen peroxidePart of the Hydrogen Peroxide Propulsion Guide In the thermal concept, the design of the decomposition chamber is similar to that employed in packed bed catalytic chambers, except that the chamber material is selected on the basis of thermal conductivity criteria rather than for catalytic activity.

Thermal Decomposition of Hydrogen Peroxide

The thermal pack is heated with a "pilot light" either by diverting a small flow of hydrogen peroxide through a small catalyst chamber (and directing the decomposition gases into the thermal bed) or by hypergolic ignition slugs of fuel and oxidizer. When the thermal bed achieves a suitable temperature level, the main flow of hydrogen peroxide is initiated and the pilot flow is terminated. The assumed advantage of this operation is an elimination of most of the problems associated with the effects of temperature, poisoning, and erosion in the catalyst bed. This concept was investigated with both 98 w/o (Ref. 1) and 90 w/o (Ref. 2) hydrogen peroxide and found to have limited usefulness. Although decomposition could be maintained with small bed loading rates, large propellant flows usually quenched the decomposition process within 3 to 5 seconds after "pilot light" termination. It was conclude~d that the slow rate of thermal decomposition position of hydrogen peroxide cannot compete with the rates obtainable with catalytic decomposition.


  1. Kazanjian, A. R., "Thermal Decomposition Rate Studies of 98% H2O2," Unpublished Data (RM 316-92), Rocketdyne, a Division of North American Aviation, Inc., 19 March 1958.
  2. Rocketdyne, a Division of North American Aviation, Inc. Canoga Park, California, Summary Report, Research Program on Hydrogen Peroxide, Report No. R-2094P, March 1960.
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