Zeolitic imidazolate frameworks, or ZIFs, are experimental new materials similar to metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and have many potential applications, including gas storage, gas separation, and catalysis. Now, you can add explosives and propellants to that list. By incorporating an acetylene or vinyl substituent into the organic component of the ZIF structure, the researchers made the materials hypergolic, meaning they can rapidly ignite when exposed to an oxidant. In this video clip, the team dropped nitric acid onto a sample of their hypergolic cobalt ZIF. The researchers hope that their ZIFs or similar ones could replace more toxic and unstable hypergolic propellants currently used for rocket engines.
Credit: Sci. Adv. 2019, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav9044
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Note: Craig Bettenhausen proofread this journal manuscript for AAAS.