Can You Use Salami As Rocket Fuel?

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: More Myths Revisited."


Explanation: In today's quest for new energy sources, the MythBusters may have stumbled on the most unconventional alternative fuel out there: luncheon meat.

Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage revisited an old experiment in which they tested whether salami could be used as fuel to propel a small rocket. After they initially confirmed the myth in a previous episode, viewers claimed that the salami never initiated actual ignition. Instead, the fans theorized that nitrous oxide — which the MythBusters used as an oxiding agent to react with sausage and initiate combustion — actually propelled the food rocket's flight.

To prove the meat could indeed power a rocket, the MythBusters went back to the drawing board. They isolated the experimental variables by testing the nitrous oxide thrust force, minus the salami fuel. The ignited nitrous oxide did provide around 70 pounds of upward thrust force.

However, when they added the salami — which is rich in nitrate, a key ingredient in many explosives — back into the rocket structure, the thrust force tripled. With the sausage packing such a powerful punch, the experiment reconfirmed that salami can certainly send a rocket into flight.

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