Inlet Design for a Mach 2 Pulse Detonation Engine

Dann, Andrew (2004). Inlet Design for a Mach 2 Pulse Detonation Engine Honours Thesis, School of Engineering, The University of Queensland.

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Author Dann, Andrew
Thesis Title Inlet Design for a Mach 2 Pulse Detonation Engine
School, Centre or Institute School of Engineering
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2004
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Richard Morgan
Total pages 85
Language eng
Subjects 0913 Mechanical Engineering
Formatted abstract
Pulse detonation engines (PDEs) are air-breathing propulsion engines. Due to their high efficiency and simplicity they have the potential to replace conventional jet engines and rocket motors used on aircraft and launch vehicles within the Earth’s atmosphere (Wu et al, 2003). PDEs rely on multiple detonations to produce thrust that is theoretically greater than other engines in relation to the fuel consumed.

Ground based experiments to date have demonstrated that single cycle (one detonation) and multi-cycle (many detonations) are possible. To the best of the author’s knowledge, no supersonic flight test of a multi-cycle engine has been successfully carried out. The primary concern of this thesis project is to demonstrate that a supersonic multi-cycle engine is possible. To this end, a PDE has been designed and constructed at the University of Queensland and launched at Woomera SA in October 2004. The objectives of the launch were to produce pressure and temperature data that would prove that multiple detonations had occurred in flight at supersonic speeds. This thesis paper is primarily concerned with the inlet design, which was integrated with all other sub-systems of the PDE namely the combustion chamber, fuel system and ignition system. The PDE was constructed to comply with the specifications for a Zuni sounding rocket launch.

The inlet design consists of a cone-shaped centre body surrounded by a cowl that allows a set amount of air to enter the PDE. The air travels into a mixing chamber before periodically being vented into the combustion chamber by an intermittent reed valve. The inlet allows the deceleration of the incoming air while maintaining the stagnation pressure by causing the air to pass through oblique and normal shock waves (Thomas 1986). Shock wave analysis and computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analysis have been carried out in order to model the inlet air flow. Based on the shock wave analysis and in conjunction with the specifications of the other subsystems an inlet was constructed. Due to electronic problems just prior to the time of launch the PDE was not launched with a pulsing fuel system or with an operational high-speed data acquisition system. It appears detonation did not occur despite evidence of deflagration. Pressure data from the mixing chamber indicates that the static pressure achieved was approximately what was expected. This was after it was determined that the peak freestream Mach number was approximately 1.5 – 1.6. A spike in the static pressure data may indicate valve closure due to an increase in the combustion pressure relative to the mixing chamber and this may partially prove that the valve momentarily operated as designed. Unfortunately the data proves that this PDE was not successful.

Keyword Inlet Design
Pulse Detonation Engine

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (non-RHD) - UQ staff and students only
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Created: Thu, 20 Nov 2014, 11:43:48 EST by Asma Asrar Qureshi on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service