Plutonium certainly falls under the category of "toxic rocket fuel." I doubt it is plutonium however. The disaster that the elite will unleash eventually will probably be a lot more controlled then just releasing a bunch of nuclear debris into the atmosphere. A biological disaster is more likely than a nuclear.
Still, you never know with the xenophobes who run the world..... They are capable of ANYTHING after all...
450kg (1000lbs) of toxic hydrazineHydrazinehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrazine
Hydrazine is the chemical compound with the formula (NH2)2. It has an ammonia-like odor, and is derived from ammonia, but its physical properties are more similar to those of water. Hydrazine is usually handled as 60% aqueous solution. It is mainly used in as a blowing agent in preparing polymer foams, but significant applications also include its uses as a precursor to polymerization catalysts and pharmaceuticals. It is used in rocket fuels and to prepare the gas precursors used in air bags. Approximately 260M kg are manufactured annually.Contents
Molecular structure and properties
Hydrazine can arise via coupling a pair of ammonia molecules by removal of one hydrogen per molecule. Each H2N-N subunit is pyramidal in shape. The N-N distance is 1.45 Å, and the molecule adopts a gauche conformation. The rotational barrier is twice that of ethane. These structural properties resemble those of gaseous hydrogen peroxide, which adopts a "skewed" anticlinal conformation, and also experiences a strong rotational barrier.
Hydrazine has basic (alkali) chemical properties comparable to those of ammonia but about 1/15 as strong.
N2H4 + H2O → [N2H5]+ + OH- Kb = 3.0 x 10-6
(for ammonia Kb = 1.78 x 10-5) Hydrazine can be diprotonated only with difficulty:
[N2H5]+ + H2O → [N2H6]2+ + OH- Kb = 8.4 x 10-16
Synthesis and manufacture
Theodor Curtius synthesized free hydrazine for the first time in 1889 via a circuitous route.
Hydrazine is produced in the Olin Raschig process from sodium hypochlorite (the active ingredient in many bleaches) and ammonia, a process announced in 1907. This method relies on the reaction of chloramine with ammonia. Ammonia is readily available from the Haber process.
The Olin Raschig route to hydrazine involves oxidation of urea with sodium hypochlorite:
(H2N)2C=O + NaOCl + 2 NaOH → N2H4 + H2O + NaCl + Na2CO3
In the Atofina-PCUK cycle, hydrazine is produced in several steps from acetone, ammonia, and hydrogen peroxide. Acetone and ammonia first react to give the imine followed by oxidation with hydrogen peroxide to the oxaziridine, a three-membered ring containing carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen, followed by ammonolysis to the hydrazone, a process that couples two nitrogen atoms. This hydrazone reacts with one more equivalent of acetone, and the resulting azine is hydrolyzed to give hydrazine, regenerating acetone. Unlike the Raschig process, this process does not produce salt. The PCUK stands for Produits Chimiques Ugine Kuhlmann, a French chemical manufacturer.
Hydrazine can also be produced via the so-called ketazine and peroxide processes.
In 2001, microbiologist Marc Strous from the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands discovered that hydrazine is produced by some yeasts and the open ocean bacterium anammox (Brocadia anammoxidans). They are the only discovered organisms to naturally produce hydrazine.
Many substituted hydrazines are known, and several occur naturally. Some examples:
gyromitrin and agaritine are phenylhydrazines found in the commercially produced mushroom species Agaricus bisporus. Gyromitrin is metabolized into monomethyl hydrazine.
iproniazid, hydralazine and phenelzine are hydrazine-containing medications.
1,1-dimethylhydrazine and 1,2-dimethylhydrazine are hydrazines where two hydrogen atoms are replaced by methyl groups.
2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine (2,4-DNP) is commonly used to test for ketones and aldehydes in organic chemistry.
phenylhydrazine, C6H5NHNH2, the first hydrazine to be discovered.
The majority use of hydrazine is as a precursor to blowing agents. Specific compounds include azodicarbonamide and Azobis(isobutyronitrile), which yield 100-200 mL of gas per gram of precursor. In a somewhat related application, sodium azide, the gas-forming agent in air bags, is produced from hydrazine by reaction with sodium nitrite.
Hydrazines are part of many organic syntheses, often those of practical significance in pharmaceuticals, such as the antituberculant Isoniazid and the antifungal Fluconazole, as well as in textile dyes and in photography.
Illustrative of the condensation of hydrazine with a simple carbonyl is its reaction with acetone to give the azine. This azine reacts further with hydrazine to afford the hydrazone:
2 (CH3)2CO + N2H4 → 2 H2O + [(CH3)2C=N]2
[(CH3)2C=N]2 + N2H4 → 2 (CH3)2C=NNH2
The acetone azine is an intermediate in the Atofina-PCUK synthesis. Direct alkylation of hydrazines with alkyl halides in the presence of base affords alkyl-substituted hydrazines, but the reaction is typically inefficient due to poor control on level of substitution (same as in ordinary amines). The reduction of hydrazones to hydrazines present a clean way to produce 1,1-dialkylated hydrazines.
In a related reaction, 2-cyanopyridines react with hydrazine to form amide hydrazides, which can be converted using 1,2-diketones into triazines.
Hydrazine is used in the Wolff-Kishner reduction, a reaction that transforms the carbonyl group of a ketone or aldehyde into a methylene (or methyl) group via a hydrazone intermediate. The production of the highly-stable dinitrogen from the hydrazine derivative helps to drive the reaction.
Being bifunctional, with two amines, hydrazine is a key building block for the preparation of many heterocyclic compounds via condensation with a range of difunctional electrophiles. With 2,4-pentanedione, it condenses to give the 3,5-dimethylpyrazole. In the Einhorn-Brunner reaction hydrazines react with imides to give triazoles.
Being a good nucleophile, N2H4 is susceptible to attack by sulfonyl halides and acyl halides. The tosylhydrazine also forms hydrazones upon treatment with carbonyls.
Deprotection of phthalimides
Hydrazine is used to cleave N-alkylated phthalimide derivatives. This scission reaction allows phthalimide anion to be used as amine precursor in the Gabriel synthesis.
Hydrazine is a convenient reductant because the by-products are typically nitrogen gas and water. Thus, it is used as an antioxidant, an oxygen scavenger, and a corrosion inhibitor in water boilers and heating systems. It is also used to reduce metal salts and oxides to the pure metals in electroless nickel plating and plutonium extraction from nuclear reactor waste.
Hydrazine is converted to solid salts by treatment with mineral acids. A common salt is hydrazine hydrogen sulfate, [N2H5]HSO4, which probably should be called hydrazinium bisulfate. Hydrazine bisulfate is used as an alternative treatment of cancer-induced cachexia. The salt of hydrazine and hydrazoic acid N5H5 was of scientific interest, because of the high nitrogen content and the explosive properties.
Other industrial uses
Hydrazine is used in many processes including: production of spandex fibers, as a polymerization catalyst; in fuel cells, solder fluxes; and photographic developers, as a chain extender in urethane polymerizations, and heat stabilizers. In addition, a semiconductor deposition technique using hydrazine has recently been demonstrated, with possible application to the manufacture of thin-film transistors used in liquid crystal displays. Hydrazine in a 70% hydrazine, 30% water solution is used to power the EPU (emergency power unit) on the F-16 fighter plane. The explosive Astrolite is made by combining hydrazine with ammonium nitrate.
Hydrazine was first used as a rocket fuel during World War II for the Messerschmitt Me 163B (the first rocket-powered fighter plane), under the name B-Stoff (hydrazine hydrate). If mixed with methanol (M-Stoff) and water it is called C-Stoff.
Hydrazine is also used as a low-power monopropellant for the maneuvering thrusters of spacecraft, and the Space Shuttle's Auxiliary Power Units. In addition, monopropellant hydrazine-fueled rocket engines are often used in terminal descent of spacecraft. A collection of such engines was used in both Viking program landers as well as the Phoenix lander launched in August 2007.
In all hydrazine monopropellant engines, the hydrazine is passed by a catalyst such as iridium metal supported by high-surface-area alumina (aluminium oxide) or carbon nanofibers, or more recently molybdenum nitride on alumina, which causes it to decompose into ammonia, nitrogen gas, and hydrogen gas according to the following reactions:
3 N2H4 → 4 NH3 + N2
N2H4 → N2 + 2 H2
4 NH3 + N2H4 → 3 N2 + 8 H2
These reactions are extremely exothermic (the catalyst chamber can reach 800 °C in a matter of milliseconds,) and they produce large volumes of hot gas from a small volume of liquid hydrazine, making it an efficient thruster propellant.
Other variants of hydrazine that are used as rocket fuel are monomethylhydrazine, CH3NHNH2 (also known as MMH) and unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine, (CH3)2NNH2 (also known as UDMH). These derivatives are used in two-component rocket fuels, often together with dinitrogen tetroxide, N2O4, also known as nitrogen tetroxide. This reaction is extremely exothermic, as a rocket fuel should be, and it is also hypergolic, which means that the burning starts without any external ignition source.
The Italian catalyst manufacturer Acta has proposed using hydrazine as an alternative to hydrogen in fuel cells. The chief benefit of using hydrazine is that it can produce over 200 mW/cm2 more than a similar hydrogen cell without the need to use expensive platinum catalysts. As the fuel is liquid at room temperature, it can be handled and stored more easily than hydrogen. By storing the hydrazine in a tank full of a double-bonded carbon-oxygen carbonyl, the fuel reacts and forms a safe solid called hydrazone. By then flushing the tank with warm water, the liquid hydrazine hydrate is released. Hydrazine has a higher electromotive force of 1.56 V compared to 1.23 V for hydrogen. Hydrazine breaks down in the cell to form nitrogen and hydrogen which bonds with oxygen, releasing water.
Hydrazine is highly toxic and dangerously unstable, especially in the anhydrous form. Symptoms of acute exposure to high levels of hydrazine in humans may include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, dizziness, headache, nausea, pulmonary edema, seizures, coma, and it can also damage the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. The liquid is corrosive and may produce dermatitis from skin contact in humans and animals. Effects to the lungs, liver, spleen, and thyroid have been reported in animals chronically exposed to hydrazine via inhalation. Increased incidences of lung, nasal cavity, and liver tumors have been observed in rodents exposed to hydrazine. No human being is known to have ever suffered serious injury from exposure to the chemical.