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Combined Numerical and Experimental Investigation of a 15-cm Valveless Pulsejet

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The pulsejet, due to its simplicity, may be an ideal micro propulsion system. In this paper, modern computational and experimental tools are used to investigate the operation of a 15-cm overall length valveless pulsejet. Gas dynamics, acoustics and chemical kinetics are studied to gain understanding of various physical phenomena affecting pulsejet operation, scalability, and efficiency. Pressure, temperature, thrust, and frequency are measured as a function of valveless inlet and exit lengths and different geometries. At this length scale, it is necessary to run the pulsejets on hydrogen fuel. Numerical simulations are performed utilizing CFX to model the 3-D compressible vicious flow in the pulsejet using the integrated Westbrook–Dryer single step combustion model. The turbulent flow and reaction rate are modeled with the kɛ model and the Eddy Dissipation Model (EDM), respectively. Simulation results provide physical insight into the pulsejet cycle; comparisons with experimental data are discussed.

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D a :

Damköhler number, ratio of flow times to chemical times

Pr t :

turbulent Prandtl number, ratio of turbulent kinematic viscosity to turbulent thermal diffusivity

P k :

shear production of turbulence

S E :

energy source

t flow :

fluid timescale, k/ɛ

t chem :

chemical time scale

ν KI :

stoichiometric coefficient for reactant I in reaction K

ν KI :

stoichiometric coefficient for product I in reaction K

k :

turbulence kinetic energy per unit mass

ɛ :

turbulence dissipation rate


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This project is sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under the supervision of Dr R L. Rosenfeld, Grant No. HR0011-0-1-0036. The content of the information does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Government and no official endorsement should be inferred. The authors would also like to thank Dr Terry Scharton and Dr Vincent Castelli for their helpful comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to A. V. Kuznetsov.

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Geng, T., Schoen, M.A., Kuznetsov, A.V. et al. Combined Numerical and Experimental Investigation of a 15-cm Valveless Pulsejet. Flow Turbulence Combust 78, 17–33 (2007).

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