The Béseme Bandito (that_xmas) wrote,
The Béseme Bandito

John D. Clark's Ignition

It's a book written in the early 70's by a rocket propellant scientist. While it's full of technical chemistry and basic rocket physics, it's written in a funny, personal style that makes the chemistry unimportant. It's very funny if you find stories of really smart people doing things that could almost kill them funny.

A quote from the book (and these sort of asides are on every other page):

The highly volatile trimethylamine sticks tenaciously to the skin and clothes, and smells like the Fulton Street fish market on a hot Saturday morning (although some of us used a more earthy comparison) and poor Roger Machinist, who had the job of making the salt, was saluted, for some weeks, by people who held their noses with one hand, pointed at him with the other, and shouted, "Unclean, unclean!" We called that propellant "Minnie," for reasons which now escape me.

Another one I liked:

Burning it with ozone in a laboratory expirement, Professor Grosse of Temple University (who always liked living dangerously) attained a stead state temperature of some 6000 K, equal to that of the surface of the sun.
Tags: chemistry, explosions, physics
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