Experimental study of combustion in hydrogen peroxide hybrid rockets

Eric John Wernimont, Purdue University


Combustion behavior in a hydrogen peroxide oxidized hybrid rocket motor is investigated with a series of experiments. Hybrid chemical rocket propulsion is presently of interest due to reduced system complexity compared to classical chemical propulsion systems. Reduced system complexity, by use of a storable oxidizer and a hybrid configuration, is expected to reduce propulsive costs. The fuel in this study is polyethylene which has the potential of continuous manufacture leading to further reduced system costs. The study investigated parameters of interest for nominal design of a full scale hydrogen peroxide oxidized hybrid rocket. Amongst these parameters is the influence of chamber pressure, mass flux, fuel molecular weight and fuel density on fuel regression rate. Effects of chamber pressure and aft combustion length on combustion efficiency and non-acoustic combustion oscillations are also examined. The fuel regression behavior is found to be strongly influenced by both chamber pressure and mass flux. Combustion efficiencies in the upper 90% range are attained by simple changes to the aft combustion chamber length as well as increased combustion pressure. Fuel burning surface is found to be influenced by the density of the polyethylene polymer as well as molecular weight. The combustion is observed to be exceptionally smooth (oscillations less than 5% zero-to-peak of mean) in all motors tested in this program. Tests using both a single port fuel gain and a novel radial flow hybrid are also performed. ^




Major Professor: Stephen D. Heister, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Engineering, Aerospace

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