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Examination of Wave Speed in Rotating Detonation Engines Using Simplified Computational Fluid DynamicsA simplified, two-dimensional, computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulation, with a reactive Euler solver is used to examine possible causes for the low detonation wave propagation speeds that are consistently observed in air breathing rotating detonation engine (RDE) experiments. Intense, small-scale turbulence is proposed as the primary mechanism. While the solver cannot model this turbulence, it can be used to examine the most likely, and profound effect of turbulence. That is a substantial enlargement of the reaction zone, or equivalently, an effective reduction in the chemical reaction rate. It is demonstrated that in the unique flowfield of the RDE, a reduction in reaction rate leads to a reduction in the detonation speed. A subsequent test of reduced reaction rate in a purely one-dimensional pulsed detonation engine (PDE) flowfield yields no reduction in wave speed. The reasons for this are explained. The impact of reduced wave speed on RDE performance is then examined, and found to be minimal. Two other potential mechanisms are briefly examined. These are heat transfer, and reactive mixture non-uniformity. In the context of the simulation used for this study, both mechanisms are shown to have negligible effect on either wave speed or performance.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Paxson, Daniel E. (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
May 21, 2018
Publication Date
April 1, 2018
Subject Category
Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics
Aircraft Propulsion and Power
Report/Patent Number
AIAA Paper 2018-1883
Meeting Information
AIAA SciTech Forum 2018(Kissimmee, FL)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 109492.
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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