Direct-connect performance evaluation of a valveless pulse detonation engine
Wittmers, Nicole K.
Brophy, Christopher M.
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Operational characteristics of a valveless pulse detonation engine system were characterized by experimental measurements of thrust, fuel flow, and internal gas dynamics. The multi-cycle detonation experiments were performed on an axis-symmetric engine geometry operating on an ethylene/air mixtures. The detonation diffraction process from a small 'initiator' combustor to a larger diameter main combustor in a continuous airflow configuration was evaluated during multi-cycle operation of a pulse detonation engine and was found to be very successful at initiating combustion of the secondary fuel/air mixture at high frequencies. The configuration was used to demonstrate the benefit of generating an overdriven detonation condition near the diffraction plane for enhanced transmission of the larger combustor. Results have shown that the addition of optical sensors, such as tunable diode lasers, to provide fuel profile data are invaluable for providing high fidelity performance results. The performance results demonstrated the ability of the valveless pulse detonation engine to run at efficiencies similar to valved pulse detonation engine geometries and may be a low cost alternative to conventional air-breathing propulsion systems.
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