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The Use of Steady and Unsteady Detonation Waves for Propulsion SystemsDetonation wave enhanced supersonic combustors such as the Oblique Detonation Wave Engine (ODWE) are attractive propulsion concepts for hypersonic flight. These engines utilize detonation waves to enhance fuel-air mixing and combustion. The benefits of wave combustion systems include shorter and lighter engines which require less cooling and generate lower internal drag. These features allow air-breathing operation at higher Mach numbers than the diffusive burning scramjet delaying the need for rocket engine augmentation. A comprehensive vehicle synthesis code has predicted the aerodynamic characteristics and structural size and weight of a typical single-stage-to-orbit vehicle using an ODWE. Other studies have focused on the use of unsteady or pulsed detonation waves. For low speed applications, pulsed detonation engines (PDE) have advantages in low weight and higher efficiency than turbojets. At hypersonic speeds, the pulsed detonations can be used in conjunction with a scramjet type engine to enhance mixing and provide thrust augmentation.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Ames Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Adelman, Henry G.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Menees, Gene P.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Cambier, Jean-Luc
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Bowles, Jeffrey V.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Cavolowsky, John A.
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1995
Subject Category
Aircraft Propulsion And Power
Meeting Information
Meeting: NASA Langley Workshop on Advanced Transportation Systems
Location: Hampton, VA
Country: United States
Start Date: September 26, 1995
End Date: September 28, 1995
Sponsors: NASA Langley Research Center
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 274-51-51
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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