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[DRAFT]Banning the Use of Mercury as a Propellant Additive

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Rho Ophiuchi
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[DRAFT]Banning the Use of Mercury as a Propellant Additive

Postby Rho Ophiuchi » Wed Jun 22, 2022 5:11 am

Hello All,

I would like to submit the following draft for consideration.

Banning the Use of Mercury as a Propellant Additive

Category: Regulation
Area of Effect: Safety

The World Assembly,

Noting that the extremely high densities of elemental mercury and mercury-containing compounds makes them a useful additive for storable rocket propellants in rocketry, including short-range missile and jet-assisted take-off applications;

Realizing that the use of mercury in rocket combustion can lead to the dispersal of both mercury vapour and mercury oxide salts into the atmosphere;

Alarmed that these exhaust components have been shown to cause severe damage to the nervous system and kidneys of those exposed;

Hereby bans the use of mercury-containing compounds in rocket systems operating in the atmosphere, to prevent the release of mercury vapour and mercury oxides into the atmosphere and environment, and the damage to human health that would cause,

Bans the manufacture or storage of mercury-containing propellants for atmospheric rocket systems, to prevent incentives for their use,

And bans the export or import of such systems to or from member states, in an effort to prevent the international dissemination of their use.


My rationale for this draft is perhaps best explained by the below post.

Rho Ophiuchi wrote:Hello All,

I hope that this is the right forum to post this idea in.

I have an idea for a potential resolution, and I did as quick a check as I could to see if it had been done before, but I do not think it has. In any case, I recently found out that back in the 1950s and 1960s mercury metal, of all things, was considered for usage as a rocket propellant additive for things like surface-to-air missiles and JATO (jet-assisted take-off), as it had an extremely high density (I got this information from reading Ignition! An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants by John Drury Clark).

While this does not sound like a good qualification for rocket fuels, surface-to-air missiles and JATO typically have very low required delta-V, which means that the mass of the fuel is usually small compared to the mass of the payload, so volume and thrust was the primary concern for militaries instead of mass.

Mercury, despite being relatively unreactive, was extremely high density (so adding it took up little additional space), and was useful as reaction mass for increasing vehicle thrust. As the total thrust of the rocket is approximately the exhaust velocity of the exhaust times the mass of the propellant, and the fuel generated a fixed amount of kinetic energy from its chemical reactions, increasing the mass of the propellant by a factor of X^2 would only decrease the exhaust velocity by approximately a factor of X, and thus increase the total thrust by a factor of X^2/X = X as well.

As such, I am wondering if it would be reasonable, given the highly toxic nature of both vapourized mercury and potential mercury oxides and hydroxides that might form in the exhaust of such rockets, to propose a WA resolution recommending the avoidance of their use.

This resolution would of course be mild (since it would just be a recommendation), and would probably best fit into the regulation (safety AoE) category, though I may be wrong on this.


Finally, I would just like to note that I am aware of being a complete novice at the creation of potential WA resolutions, and apologize for any major errors in this draft. Thank you all for your time and consideration.
Last edited by Rho Ophiuchi on Mon Jun 27, 2022 5:56 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Bananaistan
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Postby Bananaistan » Wed Jun 22, 2022 5:52 am

OOC: No idea how much of a problem this is IRL. Would a complete ban be feasible? Merely discouraging seems to be a bit of a waste of text but your proposal is perfectly cromulent otherwise.

IC: "Support."
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Rho Ophiuchi
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Postby Rho Ophiuchi » Wed Jun 22, 2022 6:09 am

Bananaistan wrote:OOC: No idea how much of a problem this is IRL. Would a complete ban be feasible? Merely discouraging seems to be a bit of a waste of text but your proposal is perfectly cromulent otherwise.

IC: "Support."

Hello Bananaistan,

OOC: I am not aware of this being much or a problem irl, with my only knowledge of it being in relation to some american rocket tests in the 1950s and 1960s, but the results were so detrimental that I wanted to breifly get a proposal out. I am also hesitant to do anything more than discouragement, both because I would not want to submit something as extreme as a total ban as my very first proposal, and because a ban might create a conflict with the next version of the Toxic Heavy Metals Act.
Last edited by Rho Ophiuchi on Wed Jun 22, 2022 6:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Simone Republic
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Postby Simone Republic » Wed Jun 22, 2022 7:36 am

I am not a chemist and this is not my field of expertise but I think it's a worthwhile cause.
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Postby Untecna » Wed Jun 22, 2022 7:40 am

OOC: I can support this, mostly because it feels very nerdy and I love it. Rockets are cool and regulating them a bit would be good as well.

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Postby Tinhampton » Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:48 am

Safety is an area of effect of the Regulation category (and Regulation resolutions should - from memory - be at least Significant in strength). It is not a category with strengths in itself.
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Rho Ophiuchi
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Postby Rho Ophiuchi » Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:21 am

Tinhampton wrote:Safety is an area of effect of the Regulation category (and Regulation resolutions should - from memory - be at least Significant in strength). It is not a category with strengths in itself.

Hello Tinhampton,

Thank you for the information - what do you mean by "category with strengths in itself," by the way? I did not understand that wording.
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Tinhampton
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Postby Tinhampton » Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:26 am

Rho Ophiuchi wrote:
Tinhampton wrote:Safety is an area of effect of the Regulation category (and Regulation resolutions should - from memory - be at least Significant in strength). It is not a category with strengths in itself.

Hello Tinhampton,

Thank you for the information - what do you mean by "category with strengths in itself," by the way? I did not understand that wording.

It is literally impossible to submit a resolution as a Safety resolution with Mild strength.
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Postby Fachumonn » Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:55 am

OOC: I'd like to note how this proposal literally does nothing at the moment. A ban would probably be a better idea.


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Rho Ophiuchi
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Postby Rho Ophiuchi » Wed Jun 22, 2022 10:02 am


Fachumonn wrote:OOC: I'd like to note how this proposal literally does nothing at the moment. A ban would probably be a better idea.

Hello,

Would a ban be enough to move the resolution to intermediate strength, or is it too specific to be anything other than mild?
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Postby Separatist Peoples » Wed Jun 22, 2022 10:16 am

"We would support a stronger ban on such additives."

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Postby Makko Oko » Wed Jun 22, 2022 10:24 am

"We will support the strictest resolution on these additives, including outright bans. 100% support." - Alora Hakjova, Makko Oko Minister Of Diplomatic Affairs

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Rho Ophiuchi
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Postby Rho Ophiuchi » Wed Jun 22, 2022 10:34 am

Hello All,

My next draft for this resolution is shown below.

Banning the Use of Mercury as a Propellant Additive

Category: Regulation
Area of Effect: Safety

The World Assembly,

Noting that the extremely high density of elemental mercury makes it a useful additive for storable rocket propellants in both short-range missile and jet-assisted take-off applications,

Realizing that the use of mercury in rocket combustion can lead to the dispersal of both mercury vapour and mercury oxide salts into the atmosphere,

Alarmed that these exhaust components have been shown to cause severe damage to the nervous system and kidneys of those exposed,

Hereby bans the use of elemental mercury as a propellant additive in short-range missile and jet-assisted take-off applications to discourage the harmful release of mercury vapour and mercury oxides into the atmosphere.


I would like to again thank everyone here again for their time and useful feedback.
Last edited by Rho Ophiuchi on Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Fachumonn » Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:24 am

If this is going to be a ban, you forgot the title.


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Rho Ophiuchi
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Postby Rho Ophiuchi » Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:25 am

Fachumonn wrote:If this is going to be a ban, you forgot the title.

Hello Fachumonn,

Thank you for the observation - indeed I did. I have edited my previous post to remedy this.
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Postby Fachumonn » Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:28 am

Rho Ophiuchi wrote:
Fachumonn wrote:If this is going to be a ban, you forgot the title.

Hello Fachumonn,

Thank you for the observation - indeed I did. I have edited my previous post to remedy this.

You forgot to change your title, or your proposal in your original post.

Quick Question - Do you know how to edit your post? If not, there is a button in the top that should say "edit" - click that.


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Rho Ophiuchi
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Postby Rho Ophiuchi » Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:34 am

Fachumonn wrote:You forgot to change your title, or your proposal in your original post.

Quick Question - Do you know how to edit your post? If not, there is a button in the top that should say "edit" - click that.

Hello Fachumonn,

Thank you for notifying me that I needed to edit the original post and title. I have now done so.

I am aware of the method of post editing - I was merely not aware that specifically editing the original post was required, and I edited a later post instead.
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Postby The North Polish Union » Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:41 am

OOC: When I looked into the US rocket tests you mentioned I only found information about mercury being used in ion thrusters, not conventional rockets. Ion thrusters only work in the vacuum of space, they aren't viable within an atmosphere, so rockets using ion thrusters are typically launched using conventional rocket fuels. This nature inherently minimizes the risk to on-planet populations as the thruster is being used.

One can still make the case that the presence of mercury poses a potential safety hazard if something goes wrong pre-launch, but this hazard already exists for any of the current common industrial or scientific uses for mercury, and the GA hasn't exactly called those out specifically yet.
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Rho Ophiuchi
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Postby Rho Ophiuchi » Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:01 pm

The North Polish Union wrote:OOC: When I looked into the US rocket tests you mentioned I only found information about mercury being used in ion thrusters, not conventional rockets. Ion thrusters only work in the vacuum of space, they aren't viable within an atmosphere, so rockets using ion thrusters are typically launched using conventional rocket fuels. This nature inherently minimizes the risk to on-planet populations as the thruster is being used.

One can still make the case that the presence of mercury poses a potential safety hazard if something goes wrong pre-launch, but this hazard already exists for any of the current common industrial or scientific uses for mercury, and the GA hasn't exactly called those out specifically yet.

Hello The North Polish Union,

The use of mercury in ion thrusters is something entirely different than the affected systems from this proposal. This proposal looks to ban the practice of directly injecting liquid mercury into the engine chambers of chemical rocket engines, as was done in the 1950s and 1960s, as this leads to large quantities of mercury being vapourized or oxidized, and shot into the atmosphere, even if things go right. I learned of these tests from the book Ignition! An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants by John Drury Clark, and I would expect them to be fairly obscure, at least in comparison to more exciting technologies such as electric propulsion.
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Rho Ophiuchi
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Postby Rho Ophiuchi » Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:08 pm

Hello All,

For anyone curious about my source, you can access it through [REDACTED], and the part I am concerned about specifically is mentioned in pages 178-179. While a scrubber is noted to have been built to remove the mercury from the exhaust in these tests, it was not actually used in the tests.
Last edited by Goobergunchia on Wed Jun 22, 2022 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Bananaistan
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Postby Bananaistan » Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:37 pm

Rho Ophiuchi wrote:

Fachumonn wrote:OOC: I'd like to note how this proposal literally does nothing at the moment. A ban would probably be a better idea.

Hello,

Would a ban be enough to move the resolution to intermediate strength, or is it too specific to be anything other than mild?


OOC: What the above posters refer to is that categories have either a Strength or Area of Effect, but not both. In this case, your proposal would fit the Regulation category and Safety AoE as you've stated, but because it's in the Regulation category, there's no strength.

Rho Ophiuchi wrote:
Bananaistan wrote:OOC: No idea how much of a problem this is IRL. Would a complete ban be feasible? Merely discouraging seems to be a bit of a waste of text but your proposal is perfectly cromulent otherwise.

IC: "Support."

Hello Bananaistan,

OOC: I am not aware of this being much or a problem irl, with my only knowledge of it being in relation to some american rocket tests in the 1950s and 1960s, but the results were so detrimental that I wanted to breifly get a proposal out. I am also hesitant to do anything more than discouragement, both because I would not want to submit something as extreme as a total ban as my very first proposal, and because a ban might create a conflict with the next version of the Toxic Heavy Metals Act.


I wouldn't worry about conflicting with undrafted, potential future proposals. You're here with this idea first. Let the author of any potential future proposal worry about contradiction with this if it passes.

IC: "We support the recent changes to strengthen the proposal."
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Rho Ophiuchi
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Postby Rho Ophiuchi » Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:47 pm

Bananaistan wrote:
OOC: What the above posters refer to is that categories have either a Strength or Area of Effect, but not both. In this case, your proposal would fit the Regulation category and Safety AoE as you've stated, but because it's in the Regulation category, there's no strength.

I wouldn't worry about conflicting with undrafted, potential future proposals. You're here with this idea first. Let the author of any potential future proposal worry about contradiction with this if it passes.

IC: "We support the recent changes to strengthen the proposal."

Hello Bananaistan,

Ah, I see now. I will modify the proposal immediately.

I am also under the impression that the new draft of the toxic heavy metals act was started, and drafted, but has been inactive for about a year.
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Postby Goobergunchia » Wed Jun 22, 2022 1:26 pm

Do not post links to pirated material on this site.

Ignition! was brought back into print in 2018 and is readily available.
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Rho Ophiuchi
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Postby Rho Ophiuchi » Wed Jun 22, 2022 1:54 pm

Goobergunchia wrote:Do not post links to pirated material on this site.

Ignition! was brought back into print in 2018 and is readily available.

Hello,

Apologies - I acted without thought. I will refrain from doing so in the future.
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Postby Sierra Lyricalia » Wed Jun 22, 2022 7:26 pm

Rho Ophiuchi wrote:The World Assembly,

Noting that the extremely high density of elemental mercury makes it a useful additive for storable rocket propellants in both short-range missile and jet-assisted take-off applications,

Realizing that the use of mercury in rocket combustion can lead to the dispersal of both mercury vapour and mercury oxide salts into the atmosphere,

Alarmed that these exhaust components have been shown to cause severe damage to the nervous system and kidneys of those exposed,

Hereby bans the use of elemental presence of mercury as a propellant additive in short-range missile and jet-assisted take-off applications in vehicle exhaust, to discourage minimize the harmful release of mercury vapour and mercury oxides into the atmosphere.


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Last edited by Sierra Lyricalia on Wed Jun 22, 2022 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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