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In the current era of space exploration, the name of the game is "cost-effective." By reducing the costs associated with a single launch, the space agency and private aerospace company [aka NewSpace] have ensured greater space access.

As for launch costs, the biggest expense is the cost of the propellant. Simply put, breaking the of the earth requires a lot of rocket fuel!

To solve this problem, at the University of Washington have recently developed a mathematical model that describes how a new launch mechanism works: Rotary detonation engine [RDE].

This lightweight design provides greater fuel efficiency and is less complicated to build. However, it has a great trade-off, which is that it cannot be predicted and cannot be immediately used.

Describe the research they researched, Mode-locked Rotational Detonation Waves: Experimental and Model Equations, Recently appeared in magazines Physical Review E.

The research team consists of James KochIs a PhD student in aeronautics and aerospace at the University of Wisconsin, including University of Wisconsin professors Kurokura and Carl Nolan AerospaceJ. Nathan Kutz, Professor of Applied Mathematics, University of Washington.

In conventional rocket engines, the propellant burns in the chamber and is drawn out from the rear the nozzle to generate thrust.

In RDE things work differently, as Koch explained in UW News release:

"The rotary detonation engine uses different ways to burn the propellant. It consists of concentric cylinders. The propellant flows in the gap between the cylinders and quickly releases heat after to form a shock wave. Strong gas pulses and significant Higher pressures and temperatures move faster than sound.

This makes RDE different from conventional engines, which require a large amount of machinery to control and control the combustion reaction in order to convert it into acceleration. But in RDE, the shock wave generated by naturally generates thrust without the need for other engine components.

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However, as Koch points out, the field of rotary detonation engines is still in its infancy, and engineers are still uncertain about their capabilities. So why did he and his colleagues decide to test the concept, including recasting available data and seeing pattern formation.

First, they developed an experimental RDE [shown below] that allowed them to control different parameters [such as the size of the gap between cylinders].

IMG 20190515 065429 750x563 1An experimental rotary detonation engine developed by the UW team. [James Koch / University of Washington]

They then recorded the burning process using a high-speed camera [it only took 0.5 seconds to complete]. The camera recorded each firing at 240,000 frames per second, enabling the team to observe the reaction in slow motion.

Koch ExplanationHe and his colleagues found that the engine actually performed well.

"This combustion process is actually an explosion-explosion, but after this initial start-up phase, we see that many stable combustion pulses are constantly consuming the available propellant. This creates high pressure and high temperature, which exhausts the exhaust gas Combustion chamber. High-speed engines generate thrust.

Next, the developed a mathematical model to mimic what they observed in their experiments. This model is the first of its kind and enables the team to determine for the first time whether RDE is stable.

Although the model is not yet available for other engineers, it allows other research teams to evaluate the performance of a particular RDE.

As mentioned earlier, there are indeed disadvantages to engine design, which is its unpredictable nature. On the one hand, the process of impact caused by combustion naturally results in compression of the impact by the combustion chamber, thereby generating thrust.

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On the other hand, once the explosion erupts, it becomes severe and uncontrolled, which is totally unacceptable to the rocket.

But as Koch explained, the study was successful because it tested this engine design and quantitatively measured its performance. This is a good first step and may help pave the way for the actual development and implementation of RDE.

"My goal is just to reproduce the behavior of the pulses we see to ensure that the model output is similar to our experimental results," Koch said.

"I have identified the main physical principles and their interactions. Now I can quantify what I have done here. From there we can discuss how to make a better engine."

Thanks to Koch and his colleagues for their research, U.S. Air Force Scientific Institute with Naval research office.

Although it is too early, the significance of this research may be profound, making rocket engines easier to produce and more cost-effective. All that needs to be done is to ensure that the engine design itself is safe and reliable.

This article was originally written by Universe today. Read Source Article.