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Numerical Investigation on the Effects of Nozzle Geometry on the Performance of a Pulse Detonation Engine

M. Ruhul Amin
Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, Montana State University, 220 Roberts Hall, Bozeman, Montana, USA

Hasan Z. Rouf
Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, 127 Reber Building, State College, Pennsylvania 16801, USA

Jean-Luc Cambier
Propulsion Directorate - Aerophysics Branch, Air Force Research Laboratory, Edwards Air Force Base, 10 E. Saturn Blvd., California 93524, USA


A numerical study is presented on the effects of various nozzle geometries and operating conditions on the performance of a Pulse Detonation Engine (PDE). An unsteady numerical simulation model, which is second order accurate in space and first order accurate in time, using an automated Java based computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software is presented. One- and two-dimensional transient CFD models were employed in a systematic manner to study the propulsive performance characteristics of the PDE under different operating conditions. Preliminary studies of the effects of nozzle geometry on the performance characteristics of a generic PDE are presented. The results indicate that an expanding nozzle, capable of adapting with the cycle time and the ambient pressure, is very suitable for optimizing the PDE performance. Addition of a straight, diverging or converging nozzle improves the performance. However, it is observed that there is an optimum value of the exit area of a divergent nozzle for performance improvement. At low ambient pressure addition of a nozzle increases the specific impulse of the PDE tube. It is also seen that a diverging nozzle is more effective than a converging-diverging nozzle at low ambient pressure. The study indicates that increased volume of the reacting fuel mixture has a negative effect on the PDE performance. The results show that a 25% reduction of the reacting fuel mixture leads to approximately 18% increase in the value of the specific impulse.

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