There are basically three types of rocket engines; solid fuel, liquid fuel, and a hybrid that uses a solid combustible source and a gas oxidizer like oxygen. The pasta rocket engine is a hybrid and uses pasta, a complex carbohydrate as the fuel, and oxygen as the oxidizer. The pasta is a tubular type like Ziti, and the oxygen source comes from hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). The oxygen is liberated from the peroxide with any baking yeast, which contains an enzyme that catalyzes the production of the O2. The hydrogen peroxide is a standard 3 % V/V available at all drug stores and most markets. The 3 % simply means that for each milliliter of H2O2 there will be 3 milliliters of O2 generated. The yeast is available at all super markets as well. The tubing that I used was made of brass but aluminum will work as well. The size depends on the size of the tubular pasta.
I have done this experiment many times over the years and have recently seen it on the web. But, there are usually very poor descriptions of what is happening and fail to address the major problem of uncontrolled burning. Hopefully, this post clears up the issues and provides some fun. The production of O2 from H2O2 is exothermic and does become quite warm. But it is a good source of oxygen for many experiments. But as with all experiments with fire and oxygen, USE CAUTION. Enjoy!
Important Note: Although it seems obvious, I failed to mention in the video that in all cases there has to be a small hole drilled or punched in any lid used. This allows the O2 to flow into the tubular pasta and eliminates pressure build-up in the container. So, drill a 1/8 inch hole and then add the nut if desired.