NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Pulse Detonation Rocket Magnetohydrodynamic Power ExperimentThe production of onboard electrical power by pulse detonation engines is problematic in that they generate no shaft power; however, pulse detonation driven magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) power generation represents one intriguing possibility for attaining self-sustained engine operation and generating large quantities of burst power for onboard electrical systems. To examine this possibility further, a simple heat-sink apparatus was developed for experimentally investigating pulse detonation driven MHD generator concepts. The hydrogen oxygen fired driver was a 90 cm long stainless steel tube having a 4.5 cm square internal cross section and a short Schelkin spiral near the head end to promote rapid formation of a detonation wave. The tube was intermittently filled to atmospheric pressure and seeded with a CsOH/methanol prior to ignition by electrical spark. The driver exhausted through an aluminum nozzle having an area contraction ratio of A*/A(sub zeta) = 1/10 and an area expansion ratio of A(sub zeta)/A* = 3.2 (as limited by available magnet bore size). The nozzle exhausted through a 24-electrode segmented Faraday channel (30.5 cm active length), which was inserted into a 0.6 T permanent magnet assembly. Initial experiments verified proper drive operation with and without the nozzle attachment, and head end pressure and time resolved thrust measurements were acquired. The exhaust jet from the nozzle was interrogated using a polychromatic microwave interferometer yielding an electron number density on the order of 10(exp 12)/cm at the generator entrance. In this case, MHD power generation experiments suffered from severe near-electrode voltage drops and low MHD interaction; i.e., low flow velocity, due to an inherent physical constraint on expansion with the available magnet. Increased scaling, improved seeding techniques, higher magnetic fields, and higher expansion ratios are expected to greatly improve performance.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
Technical Publication (TP)
Litchford, R. J.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Jones, J. E.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Dobson, C. C.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Cole, J. W.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Thompson, B. R.
(TMET Winchester, TN, United States)
Plemmons, D. H.
(Plemmons Consulting Lynchburg, TN, United States)
Turner, M. W.
(Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 2003
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.60:212284
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
Document Inquiry

Available Downloads

There are no available downloads for this record.
No Preview Available