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propellant

[pruh-pel-uh nt] /prəˈpɛl ənt/
noun
1.
a propelling agent.
2.
the charge of explosive used to propel the projectile from a gun.
3.
a substance, usually a mixture of fuel and oxidizer, for propelling a rocket.
4.
a compressed inert gas that serves to dispense the contents of an aerosol container when the pressure is released.
Origin
1915-1920
1915-20; propel + -ant
Related forms
multipropellant, noun
Can be confused
propellant, propellent.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for multipropellant

propellant

/prəˈpɛlənt/
noun
1.
something that provides or causes propulsion, such as the explosive charge in a gun or the fuel in a rocket
2.
the gas used to carry the liquid droplets in an aerosol spray
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for multipropellant

propellant

n.

less-etymological, but more usual, spelling of propellent; 1881 as a firearm explosive; 1919 as "fuel for a rocket engine."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for multipropellant

propellant

any gas, liquid, or solid the expansion of which can be used to impart motion to another substance or object. In aerosol dispensers, compressed gases such as nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and many halogenated hydrocarbons are used as propellants. The propellant may remain in gaseous form (nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide), or it may liquefy under pressure. Food products, such as artificial whipped cream, are propelled by nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide; nonfood products, such as cosmetics, insecticides, paints, and pharmaceuticals, formerly were dispensed with the aid of fluorinated hydrocarbons. Because of the threat believed to be posed to the Earth's ozone layer by halogenated propellants, they have been banned in many countries except for essential uses such as some drugs, pesticides, lubricants, and cleaners for electrical or electronic equipment. (See also aerosol container.)

Learn more about propellant with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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