Chemistry: Ion Synthesis Makes Better Rocket Fuels

What every rocket designer wants for Christmas is a new and better fuel so that his birds can blast off with extra energy. What every chemical engineer in the business is trying to do is play Santa Claus.

Precision Collision. The standard method for synthesizing high-energy chemical fuels is to mix the ingredients and heat them. The heated molecules move faster, and a few of them move so fast that when they collide they stick to each other, creating new compounds with built-in energy. Instead of this haphazard system, says Vice President Milton...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!