V-2 Steam Generating Chamber

Whole Object Name

V-2 Steam Generating Chamber

Collection

Rockets

Description

The steam generating chamber was a crucial part of the fuel feed system of a V-2 missile. The V-2 was a German liquid fuelled rocket developed during the Second World War. It used a mixture of alcohol and liquid oxygen as propellants. These liquids had to be kept in separate tanks inside the rocket to avoid the whole thing exploding. To launch the rocket, the propellants had to be drawn from the tanks by powerful turbo pumps and fed into the combustion chamber to ignite.

To achieve this, hydrogen peroxide and sodium permanganate were mixed together in the steam generating chamber. This chemical reaction produced high temperature steam, which was used to drive the turbo pumps. With an output of 5,000 revolutions a minute, the pumps could deliver 8.75 tons of fuel from the tanks to the combustion chamber in under 7 minutes. Hot gases created by burning the propellants were ejected at high speed out the bottom of the rocket, propelling it up into the air.

The V-2 was the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile. It was 14 metres high and carried an explosive warhead. V-2s would drop from the sky without warning on target cites, such as London, leaving craters around 20 metres wide. During a vertical test launch on 20 June 1944, the V-2 rocket became the first human-made object to reach space. When the war ended, the Americans, Soviets and British raced to obtain the V-2 technology and the German scientists behind it.

Object number

2010-9
  • image V-2 Steam Generating Chamber - on loan from the Royal Air Force Museum
  • image A V-2 launch from 1943 - Credit: German Federal Archives
  • image V-2 cross-section showing some of the key component parts - Credit: Eberhard Marx
  • image U.S. Army V-2 cutaway drawing showing engine, fuel cells, guidance units and warhead - Credit: US Air Force
  • image V2 Rocket Launch - Credit: Naval Research Laboratory
  • image V-2 Steam Generating Chamber - on loan from the Royal Air Force Museum
  • image A V-2 launch from 1943 - Credit: German Federal Archives
  • image V-2 cross-section showing some of the key component parts - Credit: Eberhard Marx
  • image U.S. Army V-2 cutaway drawing showing engine, fuel cells, guidance units and warhead - Credit: US Air Force
  • image V2 Rocket Launch - Credit: Naval Research Laboratory

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