This investigation explores the detonation dynamics of a rotating detonation engine (RDE). Beginning with the general understanding and characteristics of hydrogen and compressed air as a detonation fuel source, this study further develops the experimental approach to incorporating a coal-based fuel mixture in an RDE. There is insufficient prior research investigating the use of coal as part of a fuel mixture and insignificant progress being made to improve thermal efficiency with deflagration. The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy awarded the Propulsion and Energy Research Laboratory at the University of Central Florida a grant to lead the investigation on the feasibility of using a coal-based fuel mixture to power rotating detonation engines. Through this study, the developmental and experimental understanding of RDEs has been documented, operability maps have been plotted, and the use of a coal-based fuel mixture in an RDE has been explored. The operability of hydrogen and compressed air has been found, a normalization of all operable space has been developed, and there is evidence indicating coal can be used as part of a fuel mixture to detonate an RDE. The study will continue to investigate coal's use in an RDE. As the most abundant fossil fuel on earth, coal is a popular fuel source in deflagrative combustion for electrical power generation. This study investigates how the combustion of coal can become significantly more efficient.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Ahmed, Kareem


Bhattacharya, Samik


Bachelor Science in Aerospace Engineering (B.S.A.E.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Program

Aerospace Engineering


Orlando (Main) Campus



Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Release Date