Earlier research has demonstrated that downstream of combustion in a rotating detonation engine, exhaust flow periodically reverses circumferential direction. For small periods, the circumferential flow reaches velocity magnitudes rivaling the bulk flow of exhaust, manifesting as a swirl. The minimization of this swirl is critical to maximizing thrust and engine performance for rocket propulsion. During this study, numerous nozzle contours were iteratively designed and analyzed for losses analytically. Once a nozzle was chosen, further losses were validated through computational fluid dynamics simulations and then tested experimentally. Three different configurations were run with the RDRE: no nozzle, a nozzle without a spike, and a nozzle with a spike. Images of the exhaust quality were recorded using OH* chemiluminescence in high-speed cameras. One camera was used to confirm the existence of a detonation and the frequency of detonation. The second camera is pointed perpendicular to the exhaust flow to capture the quality of exhaust. Quantitative results of the turbulent velocity fluctuations were obtained through particle image velocimetry of the side-imaging frames. All frames in each case were exported and converted to several time-averaged frames whereupon the time-averaged turbulent velocity fluctuation profiles could be compared between cases for swirl attenuation.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Ahmed, Kareem


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


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Program

Aerospace Engineering



Access Status

Campus Access

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Release Date