Date:11 November 2016
This is a transparent hybrid rocket engine is quite ingenious. Even if it’s not actually going anywhere.
By Eric Limer
Solid-fuel rockets are great for plenty of things, like boosting Space Shuttles into orbit or launching a hobby rocket into not-quite-orbit-but-way-way-up-there. Of course, if you want a semblance of control over how strongly your rocket fires and, most importantly, the ability to stop it and start it again, hybrid-fuel rocket engines, with separated fuel and oxidizer, are what you want. This is what one looks like on the inside.
This build by YouTuber NightHawkInLight uses an thick acrylic rod as both the housing and the fuel for the rocket, while a supply of oxygen acts as the oxidizer. That’s about all it takes, other than a graphite nozzle to focus the blast, but even without it you can see the fiery reaction at work above.
This engine isn’t good for a whole lot since the oxygen tank it’s feeding from is so huge and heavy. You wouldn’t be able to fly or even roll across the floor on some wheels unless you mounted the two together, which increases the likelihood of a catastrophic explosion, so it’s probably best left to the experts. That said, this stationary build still serves as a great little illustration of how hybrid-fuel rockets work and it’s damn pretty to boot.
This article was originally written for and published by Popular Mechanics USA.