Co-Electrolysis-Assisted Decomposition of Hydroxylammonium Nitrate-Fuel Mixtures Using Stainless Steel-Platinum Electrodes

Wai Siong Chai, Dashan Sun, Kean How Cheah, Gang Li, Hua Meng

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Hydroxylammonium nitrate (HAN) is a promising green propellant because of its low toxicity, high volumetric specific impulse, and reduced development cost. Electrolytic decomposition of HAN is an efficient approach to prepare it for further ignition and combustion. This paper describes the investigation of a co-electrolysis effect on electrolytic decomposition of HAN-fuel mixtures using stainless steel-platinum (SS-Pt) electrodes. For the first time, different materials were utilized as electrodes to alter the cathodic reaction, which eliminated the inhibition effect and achieved a repeatable and consistent electrolytic decomposition of HAN solution. Urea and methanol were added as fuel components in the HAN-fuel mixtures. When the mass ratio of added urea ≥20%, the electrolytic decomposition of a HAN-urea ternary mixture achieved 67% increment in maximum gas temperature (Tgmax) and 185% increment in overall temperature increasing rate over the benchmark case of HAN solution. The co-electrolysis of urea released additional electrons into the mixtures and enhanced the overall electrolytic decomposition of HAN. In contrast, the addition of methanol did not improve the Tgmax but only increased the overall temperature increasing rate. This work has important implications in the development of an efficient and reliable electrolytic decomposition system of HAN and its mixtures for propulsion applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19525-19532
Number of pages8
JournalACS Omega
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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