Development, Modeling, Simulation, and Testing of a Novel Propane-Fueled Brayton-Gluhareff Cycle Acoustically-Pressurized Ramjet Engine
CONVERGE Input Files to run a Full Detailed Mechanism Simulation of the Spherical Chamber at Phi = 1.10 (28.03Kb)
University of Kansas
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In the 1950s, Eugene Gluhareff built the first working “pressure jet” engine, a variation on the classical ramjet engine with a pressurized inlet system relying on sonic tuning which allowed operation at subsonic speeds. The engine was an unqualified success. Unfortunately, after decades of sales and research, Gluhareff passed away leaving behind no significant published studies of the engine or detailed analysis of its operation. The design was at serious risk of being lost to history. This dissertation is intended to address that risk by studying a novel subscale modification of Gluhareff’s original design operating on the same principles. Included is a background of related engine and how the pressure jet is distinct. The preliminary sizing of a pressure jet using closed-form expressions is then discussed followed by a review of propane oxidation modeling, how it integrates into the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) solver, and the modeling of the pressure jet engine cycle with CFD. The simulation was matched to experimental data recorded on a purpose-built test stand recording chamber pressure, exhaust speed (via a Pitot/static system), temperatures, and thrust force. The engine CFD simulation produced a wide range of qualitative results that matched the experimental data well and suggested strong recirculation flows through the engine confirming suspicions about how the engine operates. Engine operating frequency between CFD and experiment also showed good agreement and appeared to be driven by the “Kadenacy Effect.” The research effort lastly opens the door for further study of the engine cycle, the use of pressurized intakes to produce static thrust in a ramjet engine, the Gluhareff pressure jet’s original geometry, and a wide array of potential applications. A roadmap of further study and applications is detailed including a modeling and testing of larger engines.
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