Investigation of transient plasma ignition for a Pulse Detonation Engine
Sinibaldi, Jose O.
Brophy, Christopher M.
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Elimination or reduction of auxiliary oxygen use in Pulse Detonation Engines (PDEs) is necessary if the technology is to compete with existing Ramjet systems. This thesis investigated a Transient Plasma Ignition (TPI) system and found that the technology can at least reduce and may be able to completely remove the auxiliary oxygen requirement of current PDE systems. TPI was tested and compared with a traditional capacitive discharge spark plug system in a dynamic flow, ethylene/air mixture combustor. Ignition delay time, Deflagration-to-Detonation transition (DDT) distance and time, detonation wave speed and fire success rate performance were analyzed for various mass flow rates and stoichiometric ratios. A transient plasma dualelectrode concept was also employed and analyzed. Results show that TPI is more effective and reliable than the spark plug ignition with considerable improvements to DDT performance. The TPI dual-electrode concept was proven to be the most effective configuration with average reductions in DDT distance and time of 17% and 41% respectively when compared to the capacitive discharge spark plug system configuration.
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