NASA STTR 2005 Solicitation


RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE:Rocket Propulsion Testing Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE:Plume Diagnostics for Combustion Stability

NAME: SIERRA ENGINEERING INC. NAME:Purdue University, Sponsored Program Services
ADDRESS:603 E. Robinson Suite 7 ADDRESS:302 Wood St.
CITY:Carson City CITY:West Lafayette
STATE/ZIP:NV  89701-4046 STATE/ZIP:IN  47907-2108
PHONE: (775) 888-9122 PHONE: (765) 494-1059

Curtis W Johnson

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Sierra Engineering Inc. and Purdue University propose to develop a non-intrusive plume instrument capable of detecting and diagnosing combustion instability. This Stability Diagnostic System (SDS) will be designed, assembled, and tested during this effort. The SDS will include a high-speed video camera and multiple photodiode detectors for observing the plume. It will also include a software package, which will aid in analyzing the plume data and in determining the acoustic modes of the instability. To ensure that the system works properly, Sierra and Purdue will leverage an oxygen/kerosene combustor, developed under AFRL funding, to operate with unstable combustion. Technology previously developed at Purdue will be used to modify the engine's injector so that the combustion instability occurs. The dirty (soot laden) plume produced by this combustor better simulates the conditions present in full-scale hydrocarbon fueled engines. Finally, the methodology for predicting combustion response from plume observations, developed under the Phase I effort, will be matured. The SDS system and accompanying software will be delivered to NASA for future application on NASA test facilities. Successful completion of this project will provide a non-intrusive tool for detecting and diagnosing combustion instability that is superior to current, intrusive methods.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Current NASA roadmaps point towards development of new hydrocarbon fueled engines. Whether the new engines use kerosene or methane, both fuels have led to unstable combustor designs in the past; therefore, combustion stability will be important to NASA in the future. Improved combustion stability diagnostic tools, especially ones that are non-intrusive to the combustor hardware, can be an important part of this future development. If the technology proposed here works, complete combustor bomb test campaigns (which can be dangerous) may be eliminated with potential cost savings of millions of dollars. Application of this technology to other combustion issues, such as combustion efficiency, can improve engine-specific impulse, which would improve overall CEV performance.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Successful application of this technology can be important to many other organizations that develop combustors, not only those in liquid rocket engines. Combustion stability has plagued solid rocket motor development as well as air breathing aircraft engines and commercial burners. An improved methodology to assess stability margin and diagnose problems could be applied throughout the combustor industry. The Missile Defense Agency is also researching more accurate ways of typing threat missiles. Data and instrumentation design developed in this effort could be directly used in developing new typing instrumentation and methods based on high frequency intensity variation.

Entrepreneur rocket company developers often have many resources at their disposal, but ability to assess and solve combustion stability problems is not one of them. A stability diagnostic system will be very valuable to these organizations as they are confronted with the stability issue.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.


Form Printed on 01-23-07 12:19