US2771739A - Rocket propulsion method - Google Patents

Rocket propulsion method Download PDF

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US2771739A
US2771739A US342564A US34256453A US2771739A US 2771739 A US2771739 A US 2771739A US 342564 A US342564 A US 342564A US 34256453 A US34256453 A US 34256453A US 2771739 A US2771739 A US 2771739A
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nitric acid
propellants
combustion
fuming nitric
liquid
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US342564A
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Frank J Malina
John W Parsons
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Aerojet Rocketdyne Inc
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Aerojet General Corp
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Priority claimed from US486236A external-priority patent/US2573471A/en
Priority claimed from US182742A external-priority patent/US2693077A/en
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F02COMBUSTION ENGINES; HOT-GAS OR COMBUSTION-PRODUCT ENGINE PLANTS
    • F02KJET-PROPULSION PLANTS
    • F02K9/00Rocket-engine plants, i.e. plants carrying both fuel and oxidant therefor; Control thereof
    • F02K9/42Rocket-engine plants, i.e. plants carrying both fuel and oxidant therefor; Control thereof using liquid or gaseous propellants
    • F02K9/425Propellants
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C06EXPLOSIVES; MATCHES
    • C06BEXPLOSIVES OR THERMIC COMPOSITIONS; MANUFACTURE THEREOF; USE OF SINGLE SUBSTANCES AS EXPLOSIVES
    • C06B27/00Compositions containing a metal, boron, silicon, selenium or tellurium or mixtures, intercompounds or hydrides thereof, and hydrocarbons or halogenated hydrocarbons
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C06EXPLOSIVES; MATCHES
    • C06BEXPLOSIVES OR THERMIC COMPOSITIONS; MANUFACTURE THEREOF; USE OF SINGLE SUBSTANCES AS EXPLOSIVES
    • C06B39/00Compositions containing free phosphorus or a binary compound of phosphorus, except with oxygen
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C06EXPLOSIVES; MATCHES
    • C06BEXPLOSIVES OR THERMIC COMPOSITIONS; MANUFACTURE THEREOF; USE OF SINGLE SUBSTANCES AS EXPLOSIVES
    • C06B43/00Compositions characterised by explosive or thermic constituents not provided for in groups C06B25/00 - C06B41/00
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C06EXPLOSIVES; MATCHES
    • C06BEXPLOSIVES OR THERMIC COMPOSITIONS; MANUFACTURE THEREOF; USE OF SINGLE SUBSTANCES AS EXPLOSIVES
    • C06B47/00Compositions in which the components are separately stored until the moment of burning or explosion, e.g. "Sprengel"-type explosives; Suspensions of solid component in a normally non-explosive liquid phase, including a thickened aqueous phase
    • C06B47/02Compositions in which the components are separately stored until the moment of burning or explosion, e.g. "Sprengel"-type explosives; Suspensions of solid component in a normally non-explosive liquid phase, including a thickened aqueous phase the components comprising a binary propellant
    • C06B47/04Compositions in which the components are separately stored until the moment of burning or explosion, e.g. "Sprengel"-type explosives; Suspensions of solid component in a normally non-explosive liquid phase, including a thickened aqueous phase the components comprising a binary propellant a component containing a nitrogen oxide or acid thereof
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C06EXPLOSIVES; MATCHES
    • C06BEXPLOSIVES OR THERMIC COMPOSITIONS; MANUFACTURE THEREOF; USE OF SINGLE SUBSTANCES AS EXPLOSIVES
    • C06B47/00Compositions in which the components are separately stored until the moment of burning or explosion, e.g. "Sprengel"-type explosives; Suspensions of solid component in a normally non-explosive liquid phase, including a thickened aqueous phase
    • C06B47/02Compositions in which the components are separately stored until the moment of burning or explosion, e.g. "Sprengel"-type explosives; Suspensions of solid component in a normally non-explosive liquid phase, including a thickened aqueous phase the components comprising a binary propellant
    • C06B47/08Compositions in which the components are separately stored until the moment of burning or explosion, e.g. "Sprengel"-type explosives; Suspensions of solid component in a normally non-explosive liquid phase, including a thickened aqueous phase the components comprising a binary propellant a component containing hydrazine or a hydrazine derivative

Description

Nov. 27, 1956 F. J. MALINA 'ET AL ROCKET PROPULSION METHOD Original Filed May 8, 1943 IN V EN TOR. JOHN M PARSONS BY FRANK J. MAL/NA ATTORNEY United States PatentO ROCKET PROPULSION METHOD Frank J. Malina and John W. Parsons, Pasadena, Calif., assignors, by mesne assignments, to Aerojet-General Corporation, Cincinnati, Ohio, a corporation of Ohio Original application May 8, 1943, Serial No. 486,236, now Patent No. 2,573,471, dated October 30, 1951. Divided and application September 1, 1950, Serial No. 182,742, now Patent No. 2,693,077. Again divided and this application February 3, 1953, Serial No. 342,564
Claims. (Cl. 6035.4)
Our invention relates to jet propulsion and more particularly to propellants which are useful in connection therewith.
This is a division of my copending application Serial No. 182,742, filed September 1, 1950, now Patent No. 2,693,077, as a division of application Serial No. 486,236, filed May 8, 1943, now Patent No. 2,573,471, issued October 30, 1951.
While our invention is capable of use in connection with the propulsion of a wide variety of different devices and vehicles, since it finds particular utility in the propulsion of aircraft, its advantages are described with relation to such use, it being understood that our invention is, however, not limited to such use.
Prior to our invention special means were always required to ignite the propellants. For example, when liquid oxygen is used as an oxidizer and gasoline is used as a fuel, some auxiliary ignition means must always be provided to initiate combustion of the propellants. This is objectionable because it requires either a spark plug or other ignitor or means for heating the walls of the combustion chamber above the ignition point of the propellant mixture making this system complex and dependent upon the operation of such ignition system.
While spontaneous combustion is obtained with our preferred combinations of propellants which is especially effective when operating in accordance with our preferred method it will be understood that the propellants we have discovered offer advantages even when operating under other conditions.
The present invention relates to fuels, and oxidizers and their combination as propellants and their method of injection into a jet motor. Among the objects of our invention are: to provide more eificient and effective propellants for jet propulsion systems; to provide an oxidizing agent which is easily combustible with a suitable fuel and which has a large amount of oxygen available for burning a fuel; to provide propellants, that is, fuels and oxidizers, which are spontaneously combustible; to provide a method for utilizing such propellants to give smooth combustion and to eliminate danger of explosion; to obviate the difficulties attendant upon the use of liquified gases; to eliminate the need of an auxiliary ignition system to ignite the propellants.
Oxidizers As a result of a thorough investigation of the various oxidizing agents which may be used as propellants we prefer to employ nitric acid. Since water tends to retard combustion of the acid with any fuel, the nitric acid should be substantially free of water. Thus, White fuming nitric acid, which normally contains less than about 2% of water by weight, is to be preferred to weaker solutions of nitric acid. However, we have found that more dilute solutions of nitric acid may be utilized provided that nitrogen dioxide is dissolved in the nitric acid; which is a way of increasing the concentration of an otherwise more dilute solution. Preferably the nitric acid should 2,771,739 Patented Nov. 27, 1956 contain at least about 5% N02 but preferably at least about 15 to 20% N02. Such a solution of nitrogen dioxide is known as red fuming nitric acid and almost all red fuming nitric acid which is commercially available in this country contains between about 5% and 20% nitrogen dioxide by weight and less than about 5% water by weight.
Specifications for nitric acid, obtainable commercially as red fuming nitric acid, are as follows:
Chemical composition:
HNOs 90.5% by wt. min.
Water 2.5% by wt. max.
NOz 7.25% by wt. max-6.50% by wt. min. Physical properties:
Density 1.5 min.1.55 max. 70 F.
Melting point 50 F. max.
Color, etc. Orange to dark redfumes vigorously when exposed to air.
Specifications for nitric acid, obtainable commercially as white fuming nitric acid, are as follows:
Chemical composition:
Nitric acid 97.5% by wt. min.
Water 2.0% by wt. max.
N02 content 0.5% by wt. max.
Physical properties:
Density 1.46 min-1.52 max. 60 F.
Melting point F.
Color, etc. Straw yellow to water white; fumes vigorously when exposed to air.
The term white fuming nitric acid as used herein means a nitric acid containing a maximum of about 2% water by weight.
The term red fuming nitric acid as used herein means a nitric acid containing at least about 5% N02 and a maximum of about 5% water, by weight.
Nitric acid of all types containing at least 80% HNOs is useful as an oxidizer. We have also found that liquid nitrogen dioxide is a very satisfactory oxidizer.
To eliminate the requirement for providing the jet motor with special igniting means, we employ nitric acid,
' and preferably red fuming nitric acid, substantially free of water, as an oxidizer.
Fuels A. Aniline, orthotoluidine, and methylamine, B. Liquid hydrocarbons, containing large percentage-s of such amine substituted organic compounds.
Group II.Highly unsaturated hydrocarbons: Liquid hydrocarbons of the acetylene type and containing a large fraction of unsaturated (double and triple) carbon bonds, or both, for example, divinyl acetylene, dipropargyl, and propargyl alcohol.
Group III.Liquid substances containing the elements having the properties of lithium (Li), beryllium (Be), boron (B), aluminum (Al), magnesium (Mg), phosphorous (P), potassium (k), and sodium (Na). With the exception of phosphorus all of the foregoing elements are particularly useful in fuels because they generate large amounts of heat during combustion, and phosphorus is particularly useful because it has a low ignition temperature.
A. Liquid hydrides of those elements.
B. Liquid organo-metallic compounds containing one or more of such elements.
C. Liquid fuels containing one or more such elements.
D. Liquid fuels containing one or more such elements in suspension.
All the above identified substances are spontaneously combustible with the oxidizers hereinbefore discussed and are independently useful with other oxidizers where means for ignition is provided.
Of all these fuels we prefer to employ the amine substituted hydrocarbons. Aniline, for example, not only has the advantage of being spontaneously combustible with the oxidizers hereinbefore mentioned but is less hazardous than gasoline in the presence of air. While aniline is toxic it has the great advantage of being relatively inexpensive, even though more expensive than gasoline, and of being commercially available in large quantities.
Method of operation The above mentioned oxidizers and fuels may be used together as pairs of spontaneously combustible propellants at atmospheric temperature and pressure. However, if desired these oxidizers and fuels may be used with other fuels (such as gasoline) or other oxidizers (such as liquid oxygen) respectively.
So far as We know we are the first to achieve sponprefer to use the fuels and oxidizers hereinbefore mentioned.
Certain difficulties are encountered when utilizing these propellants for propulsion. Unless the propellants are supplied to the jet motor under the proper conditions the motor is liable to fail completely, to pulsate in its operation, or to explode, even though the propellants are supplied at uniform rates.
These difiiculties may be eliminated and certainty and smoothness of operation secured by so relating the rates of injection of fuel and oxidizer to the size of the jet chamber and the inherent ignition properties of the mixture that explosion of the combustible mixture is avoided during the initial combustion, and subsequent injection occurs at rates conducive to the combustion of the continuously supplied propellants so as to avoid the accumulation in the jet chamber of any substantial amount of the unburned propellants. To achieve this result, we initially inject propellants into the combustion chamber at rates such that the amount of propellants injected prior to the initiation of combustion is less than about 20% of the volume of the combustion chamber.
After combustion has been initiated, the propellants may be injected at a greater rate than they are injected initially inasmuch as the time interval between their injection and combustion is reduced because of the higher temperature and pressure of the mixture resulting from prior combustion and the heating of the walls of the combustion chamber by the products of combustion.
In the drawing the figure shows a jet motor system including tanks and conduits for supplying propellants to the motor.
The fuels and oxidizers hereinbefore described are advantageously employed in the propulsion of an aircraft by providing the fuel and oxidizer separate containers 11 and 12 respectively connected in any suitable manner as by pipes 13 and 14 to a jet or combustion chamber. Throttle valves 16 and 17 energized by electrical circuits 18 and 19 are provided in said pipes to control the rates of supply of the fuel and oxidizer respectively to the combustion chamber 15. A receptacle 20 is connected by a conduit 21 having a pressure regulator 22 therein to the receptacles 11 and 12 and is provided with a gas under pressure, preferably a gas inert with respect to either propellant. Preferably the container for the fuel and the container for the oxidizer are connected to a source of pressure adapted to force the contents of such containers into the jet or combustion chamber at controlled rates determined by the degree of opening of the valves in said pipes.
The practice of the method of our invention contemplates so relating the rates of injection of the oxidizer and of the fuel to the combustion or jet chamber to their inherent combustion properties and the size and temperature of the chamber that smooth non-explosive combustion occurs initially and throughout the entire operation While providing the desired quantity of propulsive power. Our invention is particularly advantageous when the combustion chamber is initially at atmospheric temperature, or at the temperature of any other medium in which the motor is to operate, as we are able to achieve combustion initially without auxiliary ignition or preheating of the chamber or the propellants.
If the propellants are supplied at such initial rates, then, when the propellants are initially injected into the jet motor, the initially burned propellants soon fill the combustion chamber with high temperature gases and vapors which heat the incoming propellants thereby vaporizing them and reducing the ignition time lag. Then the subsequently injected propellants burn spontaneously Without any substantial accumulation of propellants in the liquid phase.
As an example, applied to a combustion chamber having a length of about 10 inches and a cross sectional area of about 7 square inches, highly concentrated nitric acid and aniline operate very satisfactorily when they are injected into the combustion chamber initially and prior to combustion at the rates of 3.6 lbs. per second and 2.4 lbs. per second respectively.
While these propellants and method of use and the apparatus for their use in propelling aircraft or other devices, which are hereinbef-ore described, are fully capable of providing the advantages primarily stated, it will be recognized by those skilled in the art that various modifications and alterations may be made therein while still providing uch advantages, and our invention is there fore to be understood as not limited to the specific embodiments hereinbefore described but as including all modifications and variations thereof coming within the scope of the claims which follow.
We claim as our invention:
1. The method of producing thrust which comprises ejecting from a react-ion chamber the gaseous products produced by the spontaneous combustion of an acid, selected from the group consisting of red fuming nitric acid and white fuming nitric acid, and a liquid fuel consisting essentially of an element selected from the group consisting of lithium, beryllium, boron, aluminum, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and mixtures thereof, dispersed in liquid hydrocarbon.
2. The method of producing thrust which comprises ar n ejecting from 'a reaction chamber the gaseous products produced by the spontaneous combustion of an acid, selected from the group consisting of red fuming nitric acid and white fuming nitric acid, and a liquid fuel consisting essentially of an element selected from the group consisting of lithium, beryllium, boron, aluminum, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and mixtures thereof, dispersed in gasoline.
3. The method of producing thrust which comprises ejecting from a reaction chamber the gaseous products produced by the spontaneous combustion of red fuming nitric acid and a liquid fuel consisting essentially of a suspension of lithium in gasoline.
4. The method of producing thrust which comprises ejecting from a reaction chamber the gaseous products produced by the spontaneous combustion of red fuming nitric acid and a liquid fuel consisting essentially of a suspension of sodium in gasoline.
5. The method of producing thrust which comprises ejecting from a reaction chamber the gaseous products produced by the spontaneous combustion of red fuming nitric acid and a liquid fuel consisting essentially of a suspension of potassium in gasoline.
6. The method of producing thrust which comprises ejecting from a reaction chamber the gaseous products produced by the spontaneous combustion of red fuming nitric acid and a liquid fuel consisting essentially of a suspension of phosphorous in gasoline.
7. The method of producing thrust which comprises ejecting from a reaction chamber the gaseous products produced by the spontaneous combustion of white fuming nitric acid and a liquid fuel consisting essentially of a suspension of lithium in gasoline.
8. The method of producing thrust which comprises ejecting from a reaction chamber the gaseous products produced by the spontaneous combustion of White fuming nitric acid and a liquid fuel consisting essentially of a suspension of sodium in gasoline.
9. The method of producing thrust which comprises ejecting from a reaction chamber the gaseous products produced by the spontaneous combustion of White fuming nitric acid and a liquid fuel consisting essentially of a suspension of potassium in gasoline.
10. The method of producing thrust which comprises ejecting from a reaction chamber the gaseous products produced by the spontaneous combustion of White fuming nitric acid and a liquid fuel consisting essentially of a suspension of phosphorous in gasoline.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 515,500 Nobel Feb. 17, 1894 1,506,323 ONeill Aug. 26, 1924 1,532,930 ONe'ill Apr. 7, 1925 2,013,152 Hoyt Sept. 3, 1935 2,055,210 Vose Sept. 22, 1936 FOREIGN PATENTS 195,064- Great Britain Apr. 24, 1924 476,227 Great Britain Dec. 3, 1937

Claims (1)

1. THE METHOD OF PRODUCING THRUST WHICH COMPRISES EJECTING FROM A REACTION CHAMBER THE GASEOUS PRODUCTS PRODUCED BY THE SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION OF AN ACID, SELECTED FROM THE GROUP CONSISTING OF RED FUMING NITRIC ACID AND WHITE FUMING NITRIC ACID, AND A LIQUID FUEL CONSISTING ESSENTIALLY OF AN ELEMENT SELECTED FROM THE GROUP CONSISTING OF LITHIUM, BERYLLIUM, BORON, ALUMINUM, MAGNESIUM, PHOSPHOROUS, POTASSIUM, SODIUM AND MIXTURES THEREOF, DISPERSED IN LIQUID HYDROCARBON.
US342564A 1943-05-08 1953-02-03 Rocket propulsion method Expired - Lifetime US2771739A (en)

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US486236A US2573471A (en) 1943-05-08 1943-05-08 Reaction motor operable by liquid propellants and method of operating it
US182742A US2693077A (en) 1943-05-08 1950-09-01 Reaction motor operable by liquid propellants and method of operating it
US342564A US2771739A (en) 1943-05-08 1953-02-03 Rocket propulsion method

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Cited By (15)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2960394A (en) * 1958-04-07 1960-11-15 Dow Chemical Co High energy fuel
US3048969A (en) * 1958-09-08 1962-08-14 Thompson Ramo Wooldridge Inc Impulse rocket for attitude control
US3048966A (en) * 1958-12-15 1962-08-14 Snecma Rocket propulsion method
US3088406A (en) * 1959-06-22 1963-05-07 Thompson Ramo Wooldridge Inc Quantized impulse rocket
US3107485A (en) * 1959-05-27 1963-10-22 Ohio Commw Eng Co Propulsion means and method for space vehicles employing a volatile alkene and metalcarbonyl
US3122429A (en) * 1959-09-04 1964-02-25 Ohio Commw Eng Co Jet or rocket fuel
US3147589A (en) * 1962-06-11 1964-09-08 Monsanto Res Corp 3-cyclopropylnorcarane as a high energy fuel
US3153901A (en) * 1958-04-03 1964-10-27 Ethyl Corp Rocket fuels
US3153902A (en) * 1961-04-04 1964-10-27 Jacques C Morrell Lithium rocket propellants and process for using the same
US3153903A (en) * 1961-04-04 1964-10-27 Jacques C Morrell Lithium rocket propellants and process for using the same
US3158992A (en) * 1959-02-18 1964-12-01 Solid Fuels Corp Propulsion process using phosphorus and metallic fuel
US3165887A (en) * 1962-07-02 1965-01-19 Monsanto Res Corp Method of operating a propulsion engine with polysubstituted methane fuel
US3243326A (en) * 1958-03-24 1966-03-29 William D White Fluidized metal fuel composition
US4090895A (en) * 1966-01-13 1978-05-23 Thiokol Corporation High energy fuel slurry
US20070056212A1 (en) * 2005-09-15 2007-03-15 The Boeing Company Slurry fuels and associated methods

Citations (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US515500A (en) * 1894-02-27 Alfred nobel
GB195064A (en) * 1922-03-16 1924-04-24 Jules Sejournet Improvements in the manufacture and production of powders of alloys of magnesium and aluminium
US1506323A (en) * 1919-12-05 1924-08-26 O'neill John Hugh Method and means of producing heat
US1532930A (en) * 1919-12-05 1925-04-07 O'neill John Hugh Method and means of producing heat
US2013152A (en) * 1932-08-22 1935-09-03 William D Hoyt Motor fuel
US2055210A (en) * 1933-08-21 1936-09-22 Sun Oil Co Process of producing lubricating oil
GB476227A (en) * 1936-06-03 1937-12-03 Edward Burke Improvements in and relating to the propulsion of rockets

Patent Citations (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US515500A (en) * 1894-02-27 Alfred nobel
US1506323A (en) * 1919-12-05 1924-08-26 O'neill John Hugh Method and means of producing heat
US1532930A (en) * 1919-12-05 1925-04-07 O'neill John Hugh Method and means of producing heat
GB195064A (en) * 1922-03-16 1924-04-24 Jules Sejournet Improvements in the manufacture and production of powders of alloys of magnesium and aluminium
US2013152A (en) * 1932-08-22 1935-09-03 William D Hoyt Motor fuel
US2055210A (en) * 1933-08-21 1936-09-22 Sun Oil Co Process of producing lubricating oil
GB476227A (en) * 1936-06-03 1937-12-03 Edward Burke Improvements in and relating to the propulsion of rockets

Cited By (16)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3243326A (en) * 1958-03-24 1966-03-29 William D White Fluidized metal fuel composition
US3153901A (en) * 1958-04-03 1964-10-27 Ethyl Corp Rocket fuels
US2960394A (en) * 1958-04-07 1960-11-15 Dow Chemical Co High energy fuel
US3048969A (en) * 1958-09-08 1962-08-14 Thompson Ramo Wooldridge Inc Impulse rocket for attitude control
US3048966A (en) * 1958-12-15 1962-08-14 Snecma Rocket propulsion method
US3158992A (en) * 1959-02-18 1964-12-01 Solid Fuels Corp Propulsion process using phosphorus and metallic fuel
US3107485A (en) * 1959-05-27 1963-10-22 Ohio Commw Eng Co Propulsion means and method for space vehicles employing a volatile alkene and metalcarbonyl
US3088406A (en) * 1959-06-22 1963-05-07 Thompson Ramo Wooldridge Inc Quantized impulse rocket
US3122429A (en) * 1959-09-04 1964-02-25 Ohio Commw Eng Co Jet or rocket fuel
US3153902A (en) * 1961-04-04 1964-10-27 Jacques C Morrell Lithium rocket propellants and process for using the same
US3153903A (en) * 1961-04-04 1964-10-27 Jacques C Morrell Lithium rocket propellants and process for using the same
US3147589A (en) * 1962-06-11 1964-09-08 Monsanto Res Corp 3-cyclopropylnorcarane as a high energy fuel
US3165887A (en) * 1962-07-02 1965-01-19 Monsanto Res Corp Method of operating a propulsion engine with polysubstituted methane fuel
US4090895A (en) * 1966-01-13 1978-05-23 Thiokol Corporation High energy fuel slurry
US20070056212A1 (en) * 2005-09-15 2007-03-15 The Boeing Company Slurry fuels and associated methods
US7611550B2 (en) 2005-09-15 2009-11-03 The Boeing Company Slurry fuels and associated methods

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