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International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion
ESCI SJR: 0.142 SNIP: 0.16 CiteScore™: 0.29

ISSN Print: 2150-766X
ISSN Online: 2150-7678

International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion

DOI: 10.1615/IntJEnergeticMaterialsChemProp.v5.i1-6.580
pages 546-562

REFORMING AND PYROLYSIS OF LIQUID HYDROCARBONS AND PARTIALLY OXIDIZED FUELS FOR HYPERSONIC PROPULSION

C. Bruno
University of Rome "La Sapienza" - Mechanics and Aeronautics Department, ITALY
M. Filippi
University of Rome "La Sapienza" - Mechanics and Aeronautics Department, ITALY

ABSTRACT

Chemical reforming and pyrolysis of liquid hydrocarbons (LHCs) and partially oxidized fuels (POFs) on board of hypersonic vehicles are analized as alternative to carrying liquid hydrogen fuel. The purpose is to check wether carrying and reforming (or pyrolyzing) high density LHC/POF would be more advantageous than carrying LH2 in terms of (gaseous) hydrogen yield, cooling due to the endothermic nature of both processes, and potential fuel tank volume reduction. Moreover, an analysis of performance and fuel consumption is made for an AJAX-type vehicle.
The hydrocarbons used to simulate reforming are methane and n-dodecane (as the simplest surrogates of NG and kerosene). Some partially oxidized fuels have been used to simulate cracking and reforming. Their use is particularly interesting because soot formation and heavy dehydrogenated species may be drastically reduced.
The software package used to simulate reforming and pyrolysis of LHCs is a non-commercial code called D.S.M.O.K.E. This software has been validated comparing its results with those obtained with the NASA C.E.C.-86 program.
Other simulations have been performed involving three POFs (Methanol, Methyl GlycoL Ethyline Glycol) as real fuels (not ignition improvers) using the CEA400 code and CHEMKIN. A broad range of initial conditions has been investigated by varying initial pressure, temperature, mixture composition and also residence times in the reformer. The stagnation temperatures, reached in correspondence of the wing leading edge or nose of the aircraft at high Mach numbers, have been used as initial reforming/pyrorysis temperatures. This may be considered as a limiting case, obtained considering the Prandtl number of the air Pr = 1 (recovery factor r = √Pr = 1) and assuming that heat transfer between the external surface and the reformer internal wall is realized without losses. Constant enthalpy and pressure kinetics has have been simulated in order to predict the temperature drop due to the endothermic nature of the processes.


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