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PROJECT HOT ICE. The Effect of Acceleration on the Crystallization of Sodium Acetate. Part I: Vehicle . December 7 Begin work on scale model January 4 Scale model completed January 13 Scale model test flight February 15 Full scale vehicle completed February 22 Sustainer test flight

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The Effect of Acceleration on the Crystallization of Sodium Acetate

December 7 Begin work on scale model

January 4 Scale model completed

January 13 Scale model test flight

February 15 Full scale vehicle completed

February 22 Sustainer test flight

March 15 Two stage rocket test flight

March 22 Payload test flight

April 15 – 16 Rocket fair and safety check

April 17 – 18 SLI launch weekend

Major Milestone Schedule


Flight Sequence

  • First stage burn, reaction starts
  • Stage separation
  • Booster coasts to its apogee and deploys drogue parachute
  • Booster deploys main parachute
  • Booster lands safely
  • Second stage motor burn
  • Sustainer reaches apogee, deploys drogue parachute
  • Descent under drogue
  • Main parachute deploys, slowing rocket to safe landing speed
  • Sustainer lands safely
Stable launch of the vehicle

Target altitude of one mile reached

Smooth stage separation

Second stage ignition

Proper deployment of all parachutes

Safe recovery of the booster and the sustainer

Vehicle Success Criteria


Entire Vehicle

  • CP 70” (from nosetip)
  • CG 93” (from nosetip)
  • Static Margin5.75 calibers

Length 120”

Diameter 4”

Liftoff weight 21 lbs (9 kg)

Motor K1100T



  • CP 51” (from nosetip)
  • CG 63” (from nosetip)
  • Static Margin 3calibers

Length 82”

Diameter 4”

Liftoff weight 14 lbs (6 kg)

MotorsAT-K1100T (booster),

AT-J1299N (sustainer)

Fins: 1/32” G10 fiberglass + 1/8” balsa sandwich

Body: fiberglass tubing, fiberglass couplers

Bulkheads: 1/2”plywood

Motor Mounts: 54mm phenolic tubing, 1/2” plywood centering rings

Nosecone: commercially made plastic nosecone

Rail Buttons: standard nylon rail buttons

Motor Retention system: Aeropack screw-on motor retainer

Anchors: 1/4” stainless steel U-Bolts

Epoxy: West System with appropriate fillers

Construction Materials

Wp - ejection charge weight in pounds.

dP - ejection charge pressure, 15psi

V - free volume in cubic inches.

R - combustion gas constant, 22.16 ft- lbf/lbm R for FFFF black powder.

T - combustion gas temperature, 3307 degrees R

Ejection Charge Calculations

Wp = dP * V / (R * T)


Calculated Ejection Charges

Ejection charges will be verified in static testing when the vehicle is fully constructed.

Tested Components

C1: Body (including construction techniques)

C2: Altimeter

C3: Data Acquisition System (custom computer board and sensors)

C4: Parachutes

C5: Fins

C6: Payload

C7: Ejection charges

C8: Launch system

C9: Motor mount

C10: Beacons

C11: Shock cords and anchors

C12: Rocket stability

C13: Second stage separation and ignition electronics/charges

Verification Plan

Verification Tests

V1 Integrity Test: applying force to verify durability.

V2 Parachute Drop Test: testing parachute functionality.

V3 Tension Test: applying force to the parachute shock cords to test


V4 Prototype Flight: testing the feasibility of the vehicle with a scale model.

V5 Functionality Test: test of basic functionality of a device on the ground

V6 Altimeter Ground Test: place the altimeter in a closed container and decrease air pressure to simulate altitude changes. Verify that both the apogee and preset altitude events fire. (Estes igniters or low resistance bulbs can be used for verification).

V7 Electronic Deployment Test: test to determine if the electronics can ignite the deployment charges.

V8 Ejection Test: test that the deployment charges have the right amount of force to cause parachute deployment and/or planned component separation.

V9 Computer Simulation: use RockSim to predict the behavior of the launch vehicle.

V10 Integration Test: ensure that the payload fits smoothly and snuggly into the vehicle, and is robust enough to withstand flight stresses.

Verification Plan

Determine the effect of acceleration on the crystallization from the supersaturated sodium acetate (CH3COONa) solution

Determine the effects of impurities (dopes) on the crystallization of sodium acetate under high and low accelerations

Payload Objectives

Crystallization will initiate at ignition

Sensors will successfully obtain temperature and acceleration data through flight

Collected data are accurate

Payload Success Criteria

1a. Reaction initiation at ignition 1b. Ignition, data acquisition 2. The second stage ignition and data acquisition 3. Data saved into non-volatile memory 4. Apogee, parachute deploys 5. Data downloaded and analyzed 6. Crystals examined 7. The final report is written.

Experiment Sequence

Our payload will be entirely in our sustainer

Two identical payload modules, each module consisting of four crystallization vessels, cooling system and data acquisition electronics

Preliminary Integration Plan

Payload consists from two encapsulated modules, each module housing four reaction vessels

Payload fits snugly in the body tube

Payload wiring is hidden inside the modules

Payload vents align with fuselage vents

Payload Integration Plan


Reactor vessels


A fan is located at the end of each reactor chamber.

The chamber will have a set of eight holes in each end to allow airflow.

The moving air will maintain ambient temperature inside the payload compartments

Ambient Temperature


A hypodermic needle filled with the seed crystals is attached to the plunger of the solenoid

When the solenoid is activated, the needle will puncture the membrane covering the glass reactor vessel and the seed crystals will enter the supersaturated solution

Reaction Activation System

Sampling Locations:

20 thermistors per Reactor Vessel*

Accelerometers/altimeters in the Electronics Bay

Sampling Rate:

Thermistor are sampled at 50Hz frequency

Accelerometer samples at 100Hz per second with 8 times oversampling

Altimeter samples at 100Hz with 8x oversampling

*Thermistors are located along the vessel where we expect the most change will occur

Data Acquisition

The payload will measure the temperature along each reactor vessel using an array of thermistors

Ambient temperature inside each payload module will be also monitored and recorded

Master flight computer will provide timeline, altitude and acceleration information

Data Acquisition

Each reactor vessel has a dedicated printed circuit board (PCB) for data acquisition

Data are sent to the Master Flight Computer Storage System (MFCSS)

MFCSS logs the data in a non-volatile memory

Data Acquisition

Independent Variables

C Pure sodium acetate solution (no impurities)

I1 Concentration of impurity number 1

I2 Concentration of impurity number 2

I3 Concentration of impurity number 3

A Acceleration

D Direction of reaction initiation

Dependent Variables

R Reaction Rate

S Crystal Structure Deformities

T Temperature of Reaction


Cooling method inside rocket

Amount of sodium acetate solution

Thermistors used

Initiation method


R = f (I ) Reaction rate in relation to impurities

R = f (A) Reaction rate in relation to acceleration

R = f (D) Reaction rate in relation to direction of initiation

S = f (I ) Crystal deformities in relation to impurities

S = f (A) Crystal deformities in relation to acceleration

S = f (D) Crystal deformities in relation to direction of initiation

T = f (I ) Temperature profile of reaction in relation to impurities

T = f (A) Temperature profile of reaction in relation to acceleration

T = f (D) Temperature profile of reaction in relation to direction of initiation


Commercially available sensors will be used

Sensors will be calibrated

Extensive testing will be done on ground


and Measurement

Tested Components

C1: Vessel

C2: Reaction Activation Subsystem

C3: Super Saturated Sodium Acetate Solution

C4: Sensor Attachment Unit

C5: Reaction Temperature Monitoring Subsystem

C6: Reactor Chamber Ambient Temperature Sensor

C7: Acceleration/Altitude Recording Subsystem

C8: Cable Data Transfer

C9: Fans

C10: Power and Fan Activation Subsystem

C11: Analog to Digital Conversion Subsystem

C12: Master Flight Computer and Data Storage Subsystem


Verification Tests

V1. Drop Test

V2. Connection and Basic Functionality Test

V3. Pressure Sensor Test

V4. Scale Model Flight

V5. Temperature Sensor Test

V6. Stress Test

V7. Acceleration Test

V8. Battery Capacity Test

Verification: Tests

4 inch tubing justification

Minimum possible diameter for experiment

Existing ejection and deployment data for 4 inch tubing

Maximum possible diameter for vehicle to reach 1 mile with 2,560Ns total impulse limit

Reviewer Feedback Response



Any questions?