Science: Engines for Solids

The biggest excitement in the missile-preoccupied Pentagon is the rapid progress of solid-propellant rockets. Not only the solid fuels have been improved. So have the engines that were once full of faults. The details of these improvements are still secret, but they can be described in general terms.

A potential troublespot in any rocket engine is the nozzle through which the hot gases escape into the air. Liquid fuels can be used to cool the nozzle, circulating through its hollow walls or seeping through small holes to provide a protective layer on its inner...

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