Rotating Detonation Engine Aerospike Nozzle Design Optimization

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Rotating Detonation Engines (RDEs) are a new type of engine that supersonically combusts a combination of fuel and oxidizer. The result is up to 25% more fuel efficiency than conventional combustion, a considerable improvement for Energy and Aerospace applications. The supersonic combustion waves travel around an annual chamber at 4,500mph before transitioning into a nozzle. Due to this unique dynamic unsteady supersonic combustion environment, the typical steady-state equations for nozzle design do not apply. Aerospike nozzles are currently not-optimized for use in RDEs. This design project will be two-pronged: (1) literature review, investigation, and derivation of a new class of nozzle suitable for efficient use on RDEs and (2) design, build, test, and validation of these new aerospike nozzle designs on Nobel’s existing hydrogen-powered RDEs.

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