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{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Refimprove |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Message box|ambox}} }} A propellant or propellent is a chemical substance used in the production of energy or pressurized gas that is subsequently used to create movement of a fluid or to generate propulsion of a vehicle, projectile, or other object. Common propellants are energetic materials and consist of a fuel like gasoline, jet fuel, rocket fuel, and an oxidizer. Propellants are burned or otherwise decomposed to produce the propellant gas. Other propellants are simply liquids that can readily be vaporized.

In rockets and aircraft, propellants are used to produce a gas that can be directed through a nozzle, thereby producing thrust. In rockets, rocket propellant produces an exhaust, and the exhausted material is usually expelled under pressure through a nozzle. The pressure may be from a compressed gas, or a gas produced by a chemical reaction. The exhaust material may be a gas, liquid, plasma, or, before the chemical reaction, a solid, liquid, or gel. In aircraft, the propellant is usually a fuel and is combusted with the air.

In firearm ballistics, propellants fill the interior of an ammunition cartridge or the chamber of a gun or cannon, leading to the expulsion of a bullet or shell (gunpowder, smokeless powder, and large gun propellants). Explosives can be placed in a sealed tube and act as a deflagrant low explosive charge in mining and demolition, to produce a low velocity heave effect (gas pressure blasting).

Cold gas propellants may be used to fill an expansible bag or membrane, such as an automotive airbag (gas generator propellants) or in pressurised dispensing systems, such as aerosol sprays, to force a material through a nozzle. Examples of can propellants include nitrous oxide that is dissolved in canned whipped cream, and the dimethyl ether or low-boiling alkane used in hair spray. Rocket propellant may be expelled through an expansion nozzle as a cold gas, that is, without energetic mixing and combustion, to provide small changes in velocity to spacecraft by the use of cold gas thrusters.


Propellant sections
Intro   Aerosol sprays    Propellant used for propulsion   See also  References  External links  

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