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International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion
ESCI SJR: 0.149 SNIP: 0.16 CiteScore™: 0.29

ISSN Imprimir: 2150-766X
ISSN On-line: 2150-7678

International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion

DOI: 10.1615/IntJEnergeticMaterialsChemProp.v5.i1-6.690
pages 662-672


Houshang B. Ebrahimi
Sverdrup Technology, Inc., AEDC Group Arnold Engineering Development Center Arnold Air Force Base, TN 37389, USA
Charles L. Merkle
University of Tennessee Space Institute, Tullahoma, TN, USA


The present computational study explores some issues concerning the operational performance of Pulse Detonation Engines (PDE) with hydrogen/oxygen propellants. One- and two-dimensional, transient CFD calculations are employed assuming finite-rate chemical kinetic approximations for hydrogen/oxygen combustion based upon eight chemical species and 16 reactions. The CFD model was applied to compute the physical attributes of various global detonation phenomena including shock speed, pressure spike behaviors, and Chapman-Jouquet detonation conditions. Methods for ensuring detonation initiation in the computations by means of a specified high-pressure shock initiation region are also examined. To provide insight into the numerical detonation initiation process, the details of initiation at closed and open ends are contrasted. The open-end initiation results help to verify the computational methodology and to gain additional insight into the behavior of the closed-end solutions. The effects of reducing ambient pressure at the exit of the cylinder for multicycle operations are investigated. The results indicate that at sufficiently low ambient pressures the flow conditions at the exit of the open-ended cylinder remain choked throughout the entire cycle except during refueling. Two-dimensional calculations were performed to study potential pre-combustion effects due to cyclic refueling processes in the engine. Results indicate that elevated chamber wall temperatures (approximately 1500 K) simulating multiple cycle heating produce some reactions near the wall without predetonation during refueling process. Overall, one-dimensional and two-dimensional approximations are in close agreement. Thrust and specific impulse are computed for a variety of conditions to give an indication of potential performance of a PDE.