Recrystallized Rocketry
Sugar Propellant is Back!

Hot news:   Check out the Sugar Rush flight with onboard video at the November NEFAR launch!  
(Hint:  It's the last one on that page.)

  1. Pixy Stix propellant - static test and model rocket flight test
  2. Oreo Creme and Potassium Nitrate
  3. Snickers Bar and Potassium Nitrate
  4. Pixy Stix propellant - 38mm motor static test
  5. High-Power flight test using recrystallized propellant made from Pixy Stix and potassium nitrate (KNO3).
  6. High-Power static Test using Pixy Stix and KNO3.
  7. High Power Flight test - the Sugar Rush hits the mile mark... with Pixy Stix!
  8. My home page, with lots more rocketry stuff
  9. Links to some other prime sugar-rocketry websites

1.  Model Rocket Flight Test

Paper-tube rocket motor casing made according to instructions on my model rockets page.  

Airframe is an Estes Alpha model.  Motor contains 7 grams of  Pixy Stix propellant, plus another 4.5 grams to create smoke trail and initiate parachute ejection. It is very similar to the motor static-tested the previous day using this same propellant.

Click Here for a video of this flight. (5 meg .wmv file, 24 seconds of video)

Flight simulations indicated that this rocket would reach apogee at 940 feet.  Visuals suggest that it was in that ballpark.

More fun and games!

Confectionery propellant simulations.

2.  Oreo Creme and Potassium Nitrate

Creme filling from one Double Stuff Oreo weighed out at 5.7 grams.  Mixed with 11.4 grams finely powdered KNO3 (FireFox) with mortar and pestle.

Result:  Burns very sluggishly, requires some assistance from torch flame

Adjustment:  Added 0.2 grams red iron oxide (Fe2O3) to catalyze the burn.  Works much better.

Click Here for a video of powder-trail burn.

It burned slowly, but with some vigor.  

3.  Snickers Bar and Potassium Nitrate

One 2-ounce Snickers bar weighed out at 61.6 grams.  Placed in food processor with double its weight in powdered KNO3 (123.2g) and the food processor run for about 2 minutes until all is blended to a brownish powder.  

A small sample burns sluggishly, much like the Oreo creme with KNO3.  So 1.8g red iron oxide added to the mix to catalyze the burn.

Entire batch placed on a large steel can, formed into a mound about 1 inch high and 3 to 4 inches in diameter.  Ignited in the middle of the top with a torch.

Click Here for a video of this burn.  (13 meg .wmv file, 2 min. 18 seconds of video)

For reference, the can upon which this material burns is 10 inches tall and 6.5 inches in diameter.

4.  Pixy Stix Returns - 38-240 Static Test

Two 4-oz. packages of Pixy Stix used instead of sugar to make a 650 gram batch of recrystallized KNO3/sucrose propellant using the electric skillet method.

Click Here for a full analysis of this test.  Quick summary:

Motor Casing:  Dr. Rocket 38-240
Propellant weight:  106.3g  
Kn ratios:  Initial and max, 284    Final, 228 
Total thrust:  133Ns  
Burn time:
 0.48 second,
Delivered ISP:  128 seconds

This motor burned very well, performance is comparable with that from propellant made with plain KNO3/sucrose.  It seems Pixy Stix is just an inefficient way to buy sugar.  Larger tests will be attempted.

Thrust Curve

Click here for a short video of this test
(1.5 meg .wmv file, 5 seconds of video)

High Power Flight Test

54mm Loki 1600 motor casing used to launch the Sugar Rush to an estimated 5140 feet.  

Altimeter failed to record properly, probably due to undersized vents in the new electronics bay.  

Flown at monthly launch of the Northeast Florida Association of Rocketry (NEFAR) Clegg Sod Farm, Bunnell, FL.  April 8th, 2006

Click Here for  a page describing this launch, including video.

Or Click Here for my main page, containing links to many such launches.

6.  High Power Static Test
Brand new motor, somewhat larger than the one used in the flight of 4-8-06.   I always like to static test a new motor a time or two before committing it to a flight test.

Loki 2000 casing, 54mm 5-grain.  First test.  Burning propellant made with SVRC KNO3, Pixy Stix, Karo Syrup and vinegar.  4 BATES grains and full-sized smoke grain.  But smoke grain burned simultaneously with propellant, yielding high thrust but no after-smoke.

Propellant weight:  859g  
Kn ratios:  Initial 273,  Max, 326    Final, 301
Peak Thrust:  368 Lbs-Force
Average Thrust:  264 Lbs-force
Total thrust:  1105Ns  
Burn time:
 0.93 second,
Delivered ISP:  131

High thrust is at penalty of extreme pressure (around 1800 psi) and short burn time.  Case liner is split from one end to the other.  No apparent damage to motor casing.
Thrust Curve
Click Here for a full analysis of this test.  

7.  High Power Flight Test

With a new 5-grain 54mm motor casing from Loki, a new ARTS altimeter from Ozark,
and a whole bunch of straw candy from Publix,
the Sugar Rush is aiming for the
mile marker in the sky!

Click Here for a description of this launch, including flight video.
Altimeter/Accelerometer Data

Click Here for a larger image

Serious Sugar Rockets:  
    Sugar Shot to Space - a group of dedicated amateurs will soon attempt to reach space with a sugar-powered rocket.

James Yawn
Recrystallized Rocketry home page
rev. 5/14/06