A new type of rocket engine
Engineers can not tame the rocket engine, the power of which is several times higher than the classic engines. What is the problem?
In the 40s of the last century, the Russian physicist Yakov Zeldovich created the concept of a new type of rocket engine that works on other principles. The engine was named the Rotary Detonation Engine (RDE). This engine is much more efficient and economical, but it requires technologies that have only just appeared.
Over the past 5 years, engineers in different countries have been able to build prototypes of the RDE engine, but they have not been able to get any tangible results that would allow it to be used in real projects.
A conventional rocket engine operates on the principle of deflagration gorenje. This is when a constant pressure is maintained in the combustion chamber of a rocket engine at which the fuel is slowly burned and energy is released.
The new engine operates on the principle of detonation gorenje. In this case, the fuel burns immediately after the shock wave occurs. Thanks to this non-standard process, the fuel combustion efficiency is 30% higher, while the exhaust gas velocity at the outlet is 20 times higher.
Unfortunately, the engineers can not control such an engine, it is more difficult to start, it is not possible to control the shock waves, and therefore the output power.
To solve these problems, scientists from the University of Washington developed a mathematical model based on data from a laboratory prototype of the engine, as well as data that was obtained thanks to a high-speed camera that captured the process of fuel combustion and detonation.
Scientists were able to answer one of the main questions, whether the operation of the engine can be stable and whether it is possible to control the parameters of such an engine.
It should be noted that the laboratory data confirmed the results of the experiments of the group of developers of the Russian enterprise NPO Energomash, which a year earlier, during the experiments, were able to control the stable operation of the rotary detonation engine for 10 minutes. And at the same time, the efficiency of the RDE engine was 25% higher than the efficiency of the classic rocket engine.
One of the unresolved issues is the noise level of such an engine. Russian engineers believe that it is possible to change the frequency of the outgoing sound stream, moving it out of earshot, which is a very promising technique.
In any case, a country that can take control of such a promising rocket engine will make a real revolution in the rocket and space industry, leaving competitors far behind.
Record engine operation on a high-speed camera.