Conventional engines are limited by the efficiency of their combustion mode. Compared to present constant pressure deflagration-based engines, detonation-based systems can realize a higher thermodynamic cycle efficiency, making them an attractive candidate for next generation propulsion systems that will take humanity to hypersonic speeds and even to Mars. For all its performance gains, detonation engines are still far off from implementation. One system, the rotating detonation engine (RDE) is promising as a detonation-based engine concept for its stability, simplicity, and versatility. For these reasons, RDEs have been the subject of studies internationally in efforts to understand their operation and integration into conventional technology. RDEs are on the cusp of field use, considered at technology readiness level 5 with prototype demonstrations occurring today; however, there are still significant barriers holding back this technology from widespread adoption. The work of this dissertation confronts each of these barriers with experimental methods. Using multiple different RDE test facilities, investigations into injection, fueling, exhaust, detonability, and integration were conducted, targeting research gaps in each barrier. As a result, many novel advancements have been made from these studies such as the first demonstration of hydrogen and oxygen rotating detonations, the detonability of sustainable solid particle fuels, and the effect of fuel stratification on rotating detonation propagation. Altogether, the work presented depicts the RDE from a complete perspective by advancing current RDE research through multiple channels with the intention of advancing the technology readiness level of RDEs.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Burke, Robert, "Characteristics of Rotating Detonation Engines for Propulsion and Power Generation" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1462.