Dynamic Coupling in a Model Rocket Combustor

2019-08-13T18:45:05Z (GMT) by Tristan Latimer Fuller
Thermoacoustic instabilities in rocket engines have been studied for decades and models have been attempted, however, the heat release fluctuations and overall response
is still poorly understood. To understand the heat release mechanism in a rocket combustion chamber the effect of hydrodynamics and chemical kinetics on the mode/s of combustion need to be studied. Using prior simulations of the CVRC, an initial design for a new model rocket combustor was proposed. The new design improved on past experiments by having better control of all important boundary conditions; facilitate higher fidelity pressure and optical measurements with emphasis on quantifying the results and using them to validate simulation models of the design; and allow good control over the characteristic parameters of the injection mechanics. A prior simulation was done on the proposed design to allow fine tuning of the
design elements. Three distinct modes of self-excited instability were observed in the experiment, two of which transitioned between one another with a sweep in oxidizer
temperature. A number of configurations and operating conditions were tested, but the primary focus was on three oxidizer rich cases, at different oxidizer temperatures. The two extreme cases were compared to the simulations conducted. At low oxidizer temperatures there was good agreement, where at high oxidizer temperatures there
was a fairly good agreement in the type of mechanics observed, but there were a few discrepancies. The vortex shedding off of the fuel collar was captured using chemiluminescence measurements and compared quite well with the simulations. It was found that the fuel collar vortex shedding did not directly contribute to the generation of
instabilities.