A Novel Thermal Method for Rapid Coke Measurement in Liquid Rocket Engines
The surfaces of rocket engine are exposed to high pressure combustion products at temperatures up to 6000°F. Liquid fueled engines direct fuel through heat exchangers to prevent over heating the engine components. While this is effective, the elevated fuel temperatures cause thin layers of coke to be deposited in the heat exchanger channels. Although the amount of coke deposited per mission is not problematic, the evolving practice of reusing rocket engines presents the potential for excessive coke accumulation, which could lead to engine failure. Therefore, there is a need to develop a method to characterize coke layer thickness so that engine lifetimes can be predicted.
Reaction Systems identified an approach that can rapidly and accurately map very thin layers of coke deposited in the cooling channels. The method can detect coke thicknesses of less than a millionth of an inch. This technology will allow liquid fueled rocket engines to be reused and eliminate potential hazards caused by coke accumulation.
Other Reaction Systems Projects
The development of weapons that can travel at hypersonic speeds is becoming a high priority to the US Air Force. A key technology needed for the continued development of these propulsion systems is the ability to cool the combustor by flowing fuel through channels machined in the walls.
Aircraft and missiles capable of rapid global strike and reconnaissance must fly at hypersonic speeds to achieve their performance goals. Future air-breathing hypersonic aircraft and missiles are expected to be powered by supersonic combustion ramjet (scramjet) engines.
The Army is very interested in accurate simulations of combustion in devices such as rockets and gas turbines, Otto and Diesel cycle IC engines, scramjet engines, rotating detonation engines, etc.
The development of new, robust, lightweight life support systems is currently a crucial need for NASA in order to continue making advances in space exploration, particularly in the development of Lunar outposts.
Reducing the allowable concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in spacecraft is a critical need for NASA.
Scramjet engines, which likely will provide the next generation propulsion capability, operate at extremely high temperatures and air velocities, conditions that are very difficult to reach in a laboratory.
Reaction Systems, Inc. has developed a new line of robust high temperature ceramic choked flow venturis for use in oxidizing and reducing atmospheres at temperatures up to 2700?F (1480?C).