A computational study of the effects of chemical kinetics on high frequency combustion instability in a single-element rocket combustor

Alexander Thomas Whiteman, Purdue University


The objective of this research is to determine and analyze the effect a significant change in the speed of reaction (chemical kinetics) has on combustion instability in a single-element rocket combustor. This is carried out using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and is a continuation of previous work on CFD modeling of combustion instability. Specifically, the goal is to determine whether the combustion will have the same, greater, or less instability with a significant decrease in the speed of reaction in the combustor. Other flow characteristics such as temperature, vorticity, and Rayleigh index are also analyzed and compared with those obtained with the original reaction speed.^ The combustor modeled is a single-element, longitudinal rocket combustor with a choked exhaust nozzle. The fuel is JP-8 and decomposed hydrogen peroxide is used as the oxidizer. The propellants are introduced to the combustion chamber coaxially and are non-premixed. Due to time and computational restraints, a number of simplifications are made to the computational model. These include using 2D axisymmetric modeling, using a single-step global combustion model, and neglecting two-phase effects.^ The results obtained show that the instability is slightly decreased by using the slower chemical kinetics. The results also show that a number of different and often competing phenomena contribute to the instability of the flow. Overall, the large change in chemical kinetics did not have a great effect on the stability of the combustion, although some flow characteristics were greatly changed. This research indicates that there are many contributing factors to combustion instability and the CFD can help in determining which factors are of greatest import for a given combustor.^




William Anderson, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Engineering, Aerospace

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