A team of scientists from the University of Central Florida tested an experimental PDE rocket engine for the first time, which they believe could change the approach to launching spacecraft. The research results were published in the journal Combustion and Flame.
The idea of a detonation engine (PDE) was proposed by an outstanding Soviet physicist, Academician Ya.B. Zel'dovich back in 1940. Unlike slow (subsonic) combustion - deflagration, used in most modern rocket engines, it uses a different mode - detonation.
The principle of operation of the new detonation engine is based on energy that is generated by detonation from explosions of fuel around the inner part of the combustion chamber, where the fuel and oxidizer - hydrogen and oxygen - are supplied in a certain sequence.
As a result, the so-called circular detonation is formed, bursts of energy from which move at a speed of 7000 to 9000 km / h, which is 5 times the speed of sound.
According to scientists at the University of Central Florida, the main task of their team was to "accurately calculate the jet sizes during fuel injection to improve mixing of the hydrogen-oxygen mixture."
If successful, the rotating detonation rocket engines will help drastically reduce the mass of the stages of future spacecraft.