This study evaluated the propulsion performance of a nozzleless, cylindrical rotating detonation engine (RDE). Using a C2 H4 –O2 mixture, the RDE was tested in a low-back-pressure environment at propellant mass flow rates of 8–45 g/s. In high-speed imaging of the self-luminescence within the combustor, rotating luminous regions were observed at mass flow rates above 22 g/s. Measured pressure distributions suggest that burned gas reached sonic velocity at the combustion chamber outlet. This paper proposes the structure of internal flow in the RDE and confirms that calculated pressure distribution based on the structure was close to the experimental distribution. This study also estimated the RDE’s thrust by pressure and momentum exchange and confirmed it by experimental measurement. Moreover, the theoretical thrust calculated under the assumption that exhaust is a sonic flow agreed with the load cell thrusts, suggesting that RDE combustion is perfectly completed inside the chamber. Specific impulses are 80–90% of specific impulses for ideal correct expanded flow for all mass flow rates, and its value was close to that of an annular RDE. In addition, RDE performance will increase by about 20% if the RDE is equipped with a divergent nozzle and the gas is correctly expanded to back pressure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Aerospace Engineering