Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics


Aeronautics and Astronautics

Committee Chair

Stephen D. Heister

Committee Member 1

Carson D. Slabaugh

Committee Member 2

Timothee Pourpoint


Due to stagnation in performance gain in rocket engines, rotating detonation engines (RDEs) have received renewed interest in recent years. This alternate engine cycle presents a large theoretical engine performance gain over constant pressure combustion engines; however, the complex flow fields in RDEs present significant challenges when attempting to determine engine performance for a given engine geometry and feed conditions. Currently in the literature, no simplified model exists to determine engine performance while taking into account the characteristic non-steady behavior of the injection system and the detonation propagation. The objective of this study was to determine if a quasi-one dimensional model suitable for parametric studies could be developed for RDEs to determine global engine performance over a range of operating conditions with model run times remaining significantly lower than the run times for two or three dimensional approaches. The model discussed utilizes one dimensional computational fluid dynamics to calculate azimuthal wave dynamics with a global reaction mechanism coupled to axial lumped parameter domains that dynamically determine the injection and exhaust characteristics. This paper addresses the theory behind the model and the governing equations used by the model. The validation of the model is discussed, preliminary results are presented and analyzed, and recommendations for modifications to the model to improve accuracy are suggested.