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Combustion, Explosion and Shock Waves

2015 year, number 2

Energy Efficiency of a Continuous-Detonation Combustion Chamber

S. M. Frolov1,2,3, V. S. Aksenov1,2,3, A. V. Dubrovskii1,2,3, V. S. Ivanov1,2, I. O. Shamshin1,2,3
1Center of Pulse Detonation Combustion, Moscow, 119991 Russia
2Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 119991 Russia
3MEPhI National Research Nuclear University, Moscow, 115409 Russia
Keywords: continuous-detonation combustor, energy efficiency, experiment, three-dimensional calculation


Systematic experimental and computational studies of the energy efficiency of continuous-detonation combustors (CDCs) have been performed. A small-size and a large-size CDCs using hydrogen as fuel and oxygen or air as oxidizer have been developed and tested. It was first experimentally proved that the Zel'dovich thermodynamic cycle with continuous-detonation combustion of a hydrogen-oxygen mixture in an annular combustor is more efficient than the Brayton thermodynamic cycle with continuous combustion of the mixture, other things being equal. The specific impulse of a small-size bench-scale rocket engine with a 50 mm diameter CDC operating in the continuous-detonation mode was 6–7% higher than that in the continuous combustion mode of operation. The measured fuel specific impulse for the large-size CDC of 406 mm diameter running on a hydrogen-air mixture was at a level of 3000 s. Three-dimensional calculations to optimize the structure and operation mode of the large-size CDC have shown that when running on a combustible mixture with a nearly stoichiometric integral composition, the specific impulse can be increased to »4200 s.