An Advanced Endothermic Fuel System for Hypersonic Propulsion
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. Currently, the cooling capacity of kerosene-based fuels is relatively low even when endothermic cracking reactions occur, and this limits the Mach number that can be achieved. Therefore, there is a strong need to develop new endothermic fuels and custom heat exchanger/reactors that can deliver substantially higher heat sink capacities.
Under a very successful Air Force SBIR Phase I project with the US Air Force, Reaction Systems has identified a fuel and catalyst combination that produces much higher cooling capacities than are currently available with kerosene-based fuels. Reaction Systems received the Phase II award and is working with a major supplier to demonstrate an endothermic heat exchanger that simulates their design. The results of this investigation will be used to design a scaled-up custom heat exchanger/reactor for use in a hypersonic engine.
Other Reaction Systems Projects
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 surfaces of rocket engines are exposed to high pressure combustion products at temperatures up to 6000?F. Regenerative cooling can cause coke to form on the heat exchanger surfaces.
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).