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A gas generator usually refers to a propellant mixture, often similar to a solid rocket propellant, that burns to produce large volumes of gas. It is similar to a rocket propellant, but is usually designed to produce large volumes of cool gas, instead of maximizing the energy available. The low temperature allows the gas to be put to use more easily in many applications. Gas generators are used to power turbopumps in rocket motors, to deploy airbags, and in other cases where large volumes of gas are needed, and storing it as a pressurized gas is undesirable or impractical.
Additional recommended knowledge
A gas-generator cycle can also specifically refer to a way of designing a turbopump-fed liquid rocket engine, where some of the propellant is burned to drive the turbopump, and the exhaust is dumped overboard (usually through a nozzle) instead of being fed into the main combustion chamber. Many liquid rockets are designed this way, for example the Saturn V F-1 and SpaceX Merlin engines. Usually, the propellants are burned in a highly fuel-rich mix to keep flame temperatures low -- O:F ratios below 0.5 are common.
Another good example is the V-2 rocket, which used hydrogen peroxide decomposed by a liquid sodium permanganate catalyst solution as a gas generator. This was used to drive the main turbopump to pressurize the LOX-ethanol propellants.
A common gas generator is the chemical oxygen generator.
Gas generators have also been used to power torpedoes. Hydrogen peroxide is frequently used in such applications.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Gas_generator". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|