Iranian researchers in Sahand Technology University of Tabriz have produced missile fuel using aluminum micro powder, the country's Mehr news agency reported on March 12.
The produced fuel would remain inactive but would be active when required, assuming an explosive state.
The project was conducted on nano-thermite reactions. "Thermites are used as chemical reaction triggers in missile solid fuel," Reza Taherzadeh, the major researcher said, adding that "the missile fuel rapidly burns, but it needs to be activated, which is done by a combustion catalyst, which is called thermite chemical reaction trigger."
Taherzadeh also said that the type, intensity, and quality of triggers were effective on the missile speed. "If the triggers are very active, missile would move very rapidly," he added.
He went on to note that these triggers had been developed during the project. "The project used aluminum and magnesium nano-powders to produce aluminum-magnesium alloy, which is used to produce thermite," the researcher said.
"The aluminum nano-powder is the main fuel of missiles and thus subject to sanctions against Iran," he asserted, and that "for the same reason, many universities in the country had produced aluminum nano-powders."
Iranian media outlets report that Iran has made great achievements in its defence sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems in recent years. Tehran established an arms development programme during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s to counter the weapons embargo imposed on it by the U.S. and its Western allies.
Since 1992, Iran has manufactured its own tanks, armoured personnel carriers, missiles, radars, boats, submarines and fighter planes. Iran also unveiled its first domestically-manufactured long-range Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in 2010.