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A Comparison of the Hypersonic Vehicle Fuel JP-7 to the Rocket Propellants RP-1 and RP-2 Using the Advanced Distillation Curve Method



Tara Lovestead, Thomas J. Bruno


JP-7 is a hydrocarbon-based kerosene fraction with a low volatility and high thermal stability. JP-7 was developed in the 1950s to meet the more stringent requirements necessary for the development of high-altitude reconnaissance planes that fly at speeds exceeding Mach 3. The extreme temperatures encountered due to the heat transmitted from compressed air on the aircraft and air resistance required the development of fuels with improved thermal stability and higher flash points. While JP-7 meets the operational demands for hypersonic aircraft (Mach 5+), this fluid is no longer produced. Currently, there is a desire in the hypersonic vehicle community to replace JP-7 with the rocket propellant RP-2; however, research and testing is necessary to determine if this substitute will be possible. In this paper, we apply the advanced distillation curve method to a representative sample of the hypersonic vehicle fuel JP-7. Specifically, we present the thermodynamically consistent distillation curve, and use the composition channel to characterize the curve in terms of composition and available energy content. We then compare the results with previous measurements performed on the rocket propellants RP-1 and RP-2. This work provides a basis of comparison among these fuels in terms of the fundamental thermophysical properties. This comparison will be critical in determining the applicability of substitute fuels and the refinement of future fuels for hypersonic vehicles.
Energy and Fuels


advanced distillation curve (ADC), distillation, enthalpy of combustion, hypersonic vehicles, JP-7, rocket propellant, RP-1, RP-2


Lovestead, T. and Bruno, T. (2009), A Comparison of the Hypersonic Vehicle Fuel JP-7 to the Rocket Propellants RP-1 and RP-2 Using the Advanced Distillation Curve Method, Energy and Fuels, [online], (Accessed June 20, 2024)


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Created June 14, 2009, Updated October 12, 2021