Advanced Chemical Propulsion and Electric Propulsion

A special issue of Aerospace (ISSN 2226-4310). This special issue belongs to the section "Astronautics & Space Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2024) | Viewed by 4412

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Guest Editor
School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
Interests: aerospace propulsion technology; multiple-fields-coupling fluid mechanics and jet control; propellant's mechanical behavior in complicated conditions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Special Issue entitled "Advanced Chemical Propulsion and Electric Propulsion" in Aerospace features a collection of articles exploring the latest advancements in propulsion technology for aerospace applications. This Special Issue covers a variety of topics, including advanced rocket engines, hybrid propulsion systems, electric thrusters, and plasma-based propulsion. The papers discuss various aspects of designing, analyzing, and testing propulsion systems, highlighting the challenges and opportunities associated with each approach. Additionally, this Special Issue examines the latest developments in propellants and fuels, including new materials and environmentally friendly alternatives.

The insights presented in this Special Issue will provide valuable information for researchers, professionals, and students involved in aerospace engineering and related fields. Overall, the Special Issue provides a comprehensive survey of the recent trends, innovations, and future prospects of advanced chemical and electric propulsion technologies in the aerospace industry.

Prof. Dr. Kan Xie
Guest Editor

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Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 4514 KiB  
Article
Experimental Study of the Effect of the Initial Droplet Diameter on the Evaporation Characteristics of Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine Droplets in a Subcritical Environment
by Gangqiang Wu, Wansheng Nie, Congling Yang, Siyin Zhou and Hui Wang
Aerospace 2024, 11(4), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace11040297 - 11 Apr 2024
Viewed by 292
Abstract
The evaporation characteristics of unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine droplets with different initial diameters in a subcritical environment were experimentally investigated with the temperature–pressure separation technique. The evaporation processes of unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine droplets with different initial diameters in this environment have the same general pattern. All [...] Read more.
The evaporation characteristics of unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine droplets with different initial diameters in a subcritical environment were experimentally investigated with the temperature–pressure separation technique. The evaporation processes of unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine droplets with different initial diameters in this environment have the same general pattern. All the studied droplets exhibit a short transient heating phase and a steady-state evaporation phase obeying d2. Notably, the expansion of the transient heating phase gradually increases with increasing ambient pressure. The change in diameter squared d2max increases from 1.03% at 1 MPa to 12.48% at 5 MPa. Under subcritical conditions, the evaporation rate decreases linearly with decreasing droplet diameter, and the droplet evaporation lifetime increases linearly. Changes in the initial droplet diameter may still have a large effect on droplets smaller than those studied here. When the ambient pressure is not greater than 3 MPa, the change in the steady-state evaporation time for both medium- and large-diameter droplets accounts for more than 70% of the variation in the droplet evaporation lifetime. As the ambient pressure increases to 4 MPa and 5 MPa, the percentage of the change in the transient heating time contributing to the variation in the droplet evaporation lifetime gradually increases to more than 45%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Chemical Propulsion and Electric Propulsion)
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20 pages, 11084 KiB  
Article
Transient Characteristics of Fluidic Pintle Nozzle in a Solid Rocket Motor
by Dongfeng Yan, Zehang Zhao, Anchen Song, Fengming Li, Lu Ye, Ganchao Zhao and Shan Ma
Aerospace 2024, 11(3), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace11030243 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 623
Abstract
The fluidic pintle nozzle, a new method to control the thrust of a solid rocket motor, has been proposed in recent years by combining the pintle with the aerodynamic throat (fluidic throat). The study of static characteristics has proved that it has a [...] Read more.
The fluidic pintle nozzle, a new method to control the thrust of a solid rocket motor, has been proposed in recent years by combining the pintle with the aerodynamic throat (fluidic throat). The study of static characteristics has proved that it has a remarkable effect on thrust control. To study the transient characteristics of the fluidic pintle nozzle, 2D transient simulations of a fluidic pintle nozzle propulsion system were conducted, employing dynamic meshing techniques. The Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes equations were meticulously solved, implementing a k–ω SST turbulence model. The thrust control principle of the fluid pintle nozzle was studied, and the wave structure was summarized. The transient characteristics of the secondary flow opening, secondary flow closing, pintle moving forward (pressure rise), and pintle moving backward (pressure drop) were obtained, and the effects of the injection angle and injection port position were studied. The response process after injection can be roughly divided into three stages: pressure propagation, pressure oscillation, and equilibrium stability, with time distributions of 0.4%, 5.39%, and 94.21%, respectively. In the process of the pintle moving forward, the rate of combustion chamber pressure increases and thrust decreases gradually because of the arc wall of the nozzle throat upstream, and the process of throats moving backward is just the opposite. Compared with the condition with a maximum throat opening and no secondary flow, the thrust of the condition with a minimum throat opening and a 0.3-flow-ratio secondary flow is increased by 80.95%. Under conditions of constrained flow ratio, the injection angle of the secondary flow ostensibly exerts negligible influence on the dynamic modulation of thrust. Nevertheless, it remains evident that a reduction in throat opening accentuates the impact of reverse injection. Furthermore, the proximity of the injection port to the head of the pintle is directly proportional to the efficacy of thrust control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Chemical Propulsion and Electric Propulsion)
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26 pages, 10630 KiB  
Article
Modelling of Cryopumps for Space Electric Propulsion Usage
by Andreas Neumann and Michaela Brchnelova
Aerospace 2024, 11(3), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace11030177 - 23 Feb 2024
Viewed by 772
Abstract
Electric space propulsion is a technology that is used in a continuously increasing number of spacecrafts. The qualification of these propulsion systems has to run in ground-based test facilities which requires long testing times and powerful pumping systems. In these usually large test [...] Read more.
Electric space propulsion is a technology that is used in a continuously increasing number of spacecrafts. The qualification of these propulsion systems has to run in ground-based test facilities which requires long testing times and powerful pumping systems. In these usually large test facilities, high pumping speeds are achieved with cryopumps. Cryopump operation is very expensive with respect to electrical energy and cooling water consumption. Therefore, being able to optimize pump shape, cold plate material, and pump placement in a chamber is beneficial. Pump design and tuned operating strategies can reduce costs and increase intervals between regeneration. Testing different pump configuration setups in a large facility is mostly prohibitive due to high costs and long testing times. Optimization via modelling is a better choice for design and also, later, for operation. Therefore, having a numerical model and proven guidelines at hand for optimization is very helpful. This paper describes a new model developed at DLR for the optimization of cryopump layout and operation. Model results are compared with cryopump operational and warm-up data. This validation is the basis for further optimization actions like multi-layer insulation layouts and pump cold plate upgrades, and helps in understanding and mitigating the detrimental effect of water condensates on the cryopump cold plates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Chemical Propulsion and Electric Propulsion)
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12 pages, 4775 KiB  
Article
Enhancing RDX Thermal Decomposition in Al@RDX Composites with Co Transition Metal Interfacial Layer
by Su-Lan Yang, Kan Xie, Jing Wang, Bingchen An, Bin Tian, Hongqi Nie, Jie-Yao Lyu and Qi-Long Yan
Aerospace 2024, 11(1), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace11010081 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1111
Abstract
In this study, an Al/Co@RDX composite was meticulously prepared through a combination of planetary high-energy ball-milling and a spray-drying technique. The thermal reactivity of these Al/Co@RDX composites was comprehensively investigated and compared using the TG/DSC technique. It is shown that the initial decomposition [...] Read more.
In this study, an Al/Co@RDX composite was meticulously prepared through a combination of planetary high-energy ball-milling and a spray-drying technique. The thermal reactivity of these Al/Co@RDX composites was comprehensively investigated and compared using the TG/DSC technique. It is shown that the initial decomposition temperature of RDX in the DSC curve was decreased by 26.3 °C in the presence of Al/Co, which could be attributed to the nano-sized Co transition metal catalyzing the decomposition reaction of nitrogen oxides in RDX decomposition products. The decomposition peak temperature of RDX and the heat released by the thermal decomposition of RDX in the Al/Co@RDX composite were decreased by 26.3 °C and increased by 74.5 J·g−1, respectively, in comparison with those of pure RDX. The types of major gaseous products released from Al/Co@RDX were found to be identical to those of pure RDX, encompassing N2O, CH2O, CO2 and HCN. However, the concentrations of those gaseous products for Al/Co@RDX were higher than those observed for pure RDX, which may owe to the fact that the Al/Co composite can interact with the –CH2 and –NO2 within RDX molecules, which leads to the weakening of the C-N and N-N bonds. In addition, the decomposition of RDX in the Al/Co@RDX composite was observed as a one-step process with an apparent activation energy (Ea) of 115.6 kJ·cm−3. The decomposition mechanism of the RDX in the Al/Co@RDX composite was identified to follow the chain scission model (L2), whereas the two-step decomposition physical models observed for pure RDX were found to closely resemble the L2 and autocatalytic models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Chemical Propulsion and Electric Propulsion)
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13 pages, 3618 KiB  
Article
A Novel Transversal-Feed Electron Cyclotron Resonance Plasma Thruster: Design and Plasma Characteristics Analysis
by Yajie Han, Guangqing Xia, Bin Sun, Junjun Zhang, Liuwei Chen and Chang Lu
Aerospace 2023, 10(10), 865; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10100865 - 01 Oct 2023
Viewed by 966
Abstract
This paper presents the development, analysis, and performance evaluation of a novel transversal-feed Electron Cyclotron Resonance Plasma Thruster (ECRPT). The ECRPT operates based on the transversal-feed principle and incorporates optimized structural design. Through extensive simulation of the S-parameters of the [...] Read more.
This paper presents the development, analysis, and performance evaluation of a novel transversal-feed Electron Cyclotron Resonance Plasma Thruster (ECRPT). The ECRPT operates based on the transversal-feed principle and incorporates optimized structural design. Through extensive simulation of the S-parameters of the antenna, optimal antenna sizes are determined for both coaxial and transversal-feed configurations. Additionally, the electric field intensity of the antenna is simulated for both feed structures, revealing higher electric field intensity in the transversal structure, thereby promoting discharge. We employ the drift-diffusion model to calculate the number density of electrons in the discharge chamber and ascertain that the number density can reach an order of magnitude of 1018 m−3. Experimental discharge tests are conducted under various microwave power conditions, demonstrating that the thruster can initiate and cease operation with an incident power as low as 5 W, significantly lower than that of traditional coaxial feed structures. At a power level of 20 W, the ion current density can attain 3 A/m2. Moreover, the transversal-feed thruster exhibits exceptional performance when the power exceeds 10 W, and the propellant flow rate ranges from 0.5 SCCM to 5 SCCM. The superior performance characteristics of the proposed thruster configuration make it a promising candidate for applications demanding efficient and low-power plasma propulsion systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Chemical Propulsion and Electric Propulsion)
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