Advanced Propulsion Research Laboratory

Advanced Propulsion ResearchThis laboratory has capabilities to perform high-intensity combustor experiment and high-speed turbulent jet and mixing research. High-intensity combustor rig supports pressurized combustor testing with multi-fuel capability. The combustor is connected to 4 high-pressure and 1 low-pressure supply lines. The rig is currently being used to perform liquid-fueled active combustion control work sponsored by ONR. Supersonic flow testing at up to Mach 2 is feasible with continuous supply of 0.45 lb/sec airflow. The lab is equipped with all the standard flow instrumentation for time-resolved spatial measurements and flow field visualization.

Some of the current projects include:

  • Active Combustion Control: This project which is funded by ONR builds on recent advances in liquid-fueled active combustion control research and vortex-droplet interaction studies which Dr. Ken Yu conducted. The aim is to apply a revolutionary combustion control technology to improved the propulsion performance. Such improvement will lead to increased range, improved safety, and cleaner exhausts of advanced propulsion devices. So far, students working on this project have investigated the effects of air enthalpy and fuel critical flux on control performance in laboratory experiments. They have published their research findings in this year's conferences, including AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, Combustion Institute Section Meeting, and AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference.
  • Scramjet Mixing Enhancement: High-speed propulsion will play an increasingly important role in modern aeronautics, as there is a growing need for time-critical transportation of humans and cargo. This project, funded by Navy, addresses turbulent combustion research related to high-speed aeronautical engine development. At high speed, flow residence time inside the engine becomes very short necessitating some means of mixing enhancement. The project goals are to explore new enabling technologies for improving supersonic mixing and to build a scientific foundation for high-speed propulsion research by obtaining benchmark experimental data over a wide range of practical speed, suitable for CFD model validation.
  • Liquid-Fueled Burner for Thermo-Photo-Voltaic Power Generation: The aim of this Army-sponsored project is to develop an efficient liquid-fueled burner suitable for portable power-generation device. To increase efficiency of thermophotovoltaic power conversion process, it is desired that the emitter temperature be maintained at an optimum value. Thus, fuel-air mixing process in swirl-stabilized flames is being investigated to better understand the effect of mixing enhancement on combustor wall temperature distribution. The optimum temperature distribution and effective heat transfer can lead to the development of a practical power generator. To obtain desired effect while maintaining small, efficient, and light-weight construction, flow structure-droplet interaction is systematically investigated inside the burner.