Development of new chemistry for a dual use hydrazine thruster, switchable room temperature ionic liquids, a study of silane grafting to polyethylene and its model compounds, synthesis of the novel hydrazine replacement fuel molecules 1,1-dimethyl-2-[2-azidoethyl]hydrazine and 1,1-dimethyl-2-[2-azidoethyl]hydrazone
Huttenhower, Hillary Anne
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This thesis focuses on the development of new compounds or new processes that are more environmentally friendly and economical than those currently in use. The decomposition of hydrazine, a well established liquid rocket fuel for both the aerospace and defense industries, to the product ammonia is studied. Control of this reaction will allow hydrazine to be used as a propellant for both chemical and electric propulsion. From this a dual stage thruster will be developed that will be more efficient than current systems decreasing the amount of propellant needed and allowing for either a larger mission payload or a longer duration of individual missions. Hydrazine, while beneficial and well established, is also highly toxic, so other work in this thesis focuses on the synthesis of the novel molecule 1,1-dimethyl-2-[2-azidoethyl]hydrazine or DMAEH and its hydrazone intermediate 1,1-dimethyl-2-[2-azidoethyl]hydrazone or De-DMAEH as less toxic hydrazine replacements. Novel "switchable" ionic liquids have been investigated in this research. These are solvents that can change from molecular liquids to ionic liquids and back, simply with the addition or removal of CO₂ from the system. They can be used for a variety of applications, including as solvents for a reaction and separation system. Due to the recyclable nature of these solvents, waste is decreased making their development and implementation both environmentally and economically beneficial. Finally, the grafting reaction of vinyl silanes onto a hydrocarbon backbone is investigated. Fundamental work is being performed to study the graft distribution, selectivity and mechanism by which this reaction occurs. A more thorough understanding of how this reaction proceeds will allow for the development of a more efficient industrial process.