THE use of liquid oxygen as an oxidizer for various fuels in liquid rocket propellent systems is not new. Professor Goddard used liquid oxygen in his rocket experiments and the well known German V2 rockets used this material as an oxidizer. However, its effect on nonmetallic materials ordinarily used in rocket systems was not investigated until recent years. This investigation was prompted by phenomena which had been experienced by rocket engine and rocket aircraft manufacturers and by suppliers of the material. It was observed that when some organic materials came in intimate contact with liquid oxygen they became prone to detonation when subjected to certain impact energies. This was undoubtedly due to the formation of unstable organoperoxide compounds which when impacted released high levels of energy resulting in an explosion. Specifically, when liquid oxygen was accidently spilled on asphalt and inadvertently stepped on, the asphalt would often explode. Also, leather gaskets immersed in liquid oxygen and subjected to surge impact detonated with disastrous effects.
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 1, 1959