Amateur Guide to Building Rockets and Motors
United Propulsion Technologies
"This book is for serious amateur rocket experimenters and dreamers," states the text.
A fairly good, very brief and general introduction to building, testing, and safety with experimental rockets, with some brief comments about the law. Has a very general introduction to rocket components, and how each works, followed by a very general introduction to rocket propellants, focusing on solid fuels. Discusses burn rate, types of propellant grains and their geometries. Mainly describes zinc-sulfur propellant and motors:
Also covers "PA-180 composite fuel" (similar to GALCIT-61, an early JPL propellant using asphalt and perchlorate); mixing procedures; measuring and mixing ("Do not under any circumstances try to mix this in your home.")
- Handling and mixing
- Measuring and mixing
- Mixing ratios
- Basic formulas for engine design
- Propellant density
- Cold casting of ZN-105 fuel (zinc-sulfur blend)
Has some specifics of potassium perchlorate, including storage and handling, toxicity, and performance as a propellant. Reviews "HT-70 composite propellant" (a modern HTPB blend using aluminum powder and polymers), with some comments on ammonium perchlorate, its storage and handling, and toxicity.
The book has good designs and drawings for various simple, home-built static test stands for rocket motors, burst diaphragms, squibs, and similar items, to obtain burn rate and burn time data. Includes design information and drawings for a larger static test stand for measuring thrust using a hydraulic jack. This unit is capable of testing large rockets on a skate-plate track. Also various drawings of adjustable launch stand designs.
The heart of the book are the design specifications for "Phoenix Rockets," describing in detail motor and nozzle design, with good drawings to work from. Provides sufficient engineering drawings to build a very functional, high-performance rocket that's 3-inches in diameter and 6-feet long: the Phoenix PX-60-3.
Also includes simple drawings for basic nose cone attachments. Goes into fin design and location. Describes making diaphragms and igniters for the zinc-sulfur motors, and how to fabricate combustion chambers. Covers rocket thrust chamber calculations, showing how to figure nozzle exit area, throat area, mass flow rate, length of chamber, propellant volume, ballistic formulas for determining rocket altitude, and so forth.
Has simplified tables of data for expansion ratios/efficiency factors, and coefficient of thrust, Cf (at various chamber pressures), nozzle exit-to-throat-area ratios.
Table of Contents
- Phoenix Class Rocket Designs
- Rocket Thrust Calculations
NOTE: These sample illustrations are greatly reduced in both size and resolution!
We found this reprint at a rocketeer's swap meet in New Mexico last year. It's "like new," but obviously a high-quality copy of the original booklet. 40 pages, measuring 8.5 x 5.5-inches. $19.95
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