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Published September 2004 | Published
Journal Article Open

Effect of Porous Thrust Surfaces on Detonation Transition and Detonation Tube Impulse


As pulse detonation engine development matures, it becomes increasingly important to consider how practical details such as the implementation of valves and nozzles will affect performance. Inlet valve timing and valveless inlet designs may result in flow of products back upstream and, consequently, reduction in impulse over the ideal case. Although proper inlet design or operation under flowing conditions may minimize these losses, our study addresses the worst-case effect that a porous thrust surface may have on the measured impulse. A series of single-cycle tests have been carried out to measure the impulse in stoichiometric ethylene–oxygen mixtures, initially between 20 and 100 kPa, in a detonation tube with a porous thrust surface. The tested thrust surfaces had blockage ratios ranging from completely solid (100% blockage ratio) to completely open (0% blockage ratio). A 76% loss in impulse was observed with a thrust surface blockage ratio of 52% at an initial pressure of 100 kPa. The time to detonation transition was found to be more dependent on the mixture's initial pressure than on the thrust surface blockage ratio. A model of the impulse in detonation tubes with porous thrust surfaces was developed.

Additional Information

Copyright © 2004 by California Institute of Technology. Published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc., with permission. Presented as Paper 2003-4822 at the AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE 39th Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, Huntsville, AL, 20–23 July 2003; received 8 September 2003; revision received 18 December 2003; accepted for publication 19 December 2003. This work was supported by the U.S. Office of Naval Research Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative Multidisciplinary Study of Pulse Detonation Engine (N00014-02-1-0589), and General Electric Contract GE-PO A02 81655 under DABT-63-0-0001.

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