Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Robert A. Frederick, Jr

Committee Member

Kunning G. Xu

Committee Member

David Lineberry


Rocket engines--Design and construction., Detonation waves.


Rotating Detonation Engines (RDEs) have the potential to provide higher propulsive performance compared to conventional deflagrative combustors. The objective of this study is to compare liquid propane (LC3H8) and gaseous methane (GCH4) fuels in a laboratory-scale RDE. To accomplish this objective, a 4-inch, “racetrack” type RDE was developed that facilitates optical access to the combustion region. Fuels are injected, along with gaseous oxygen (GO2), using 50 discrete GO2-centered shear-coaxial injector elements. The design approach for the engine is discussed including combustor channel sizing, injector selection, ignition method, and instrumentation. Counter-propagating detonation waves were observed during testing with average wave velocities ranging from 3199 to 3527 ft/sec (975 to 1075 m/sec) with LC3H8, and 3447 to 4680 ft/sec (1051 to 1426 m/sec) with GCH4. The highest average wave velocities observed were achieved at equivalence ratios of approximately 1.75 to 1.8 for both fuels tested.



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