Catalytic N2O Decomposition for Piloted Scramjet Ignition
Currently there is a strong need to develop hypersonic, air-breathing vehicles for rapid global strike and reconnaissance capability and these are expected to be powered by supersonic combustion ramjet (scramjet) engines. Scramjet engines only operate well at high speed and must be boosted with solid rocket motors before ignition can occur. Unfortunately, igniting the scramjet combustor using logistics fuel at the end of the boost phase is very difficult. In work funded by the Air Force, Reaction Systems is investigating a new, innovative approach that utilizes thermally stable catalysts to facilitate the very exothermic decomposition of N2O into N2 and O2. Reaction System also has developed a novel method to control the effluent temperature. In one mode, the temperature of the N2/O2 mixture is hot enough to ignite logistics fuel following rocket boost. However, in a different mode the effluent temperature is reduced so it can be mixed with the fuel prior to injection to improve atomization. Our method of fuel conditioning with a warm barbotage gas improves penetration and droplet breakup compared to the use of cold N2.
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.
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).