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Theoretical and experimental investigation of gel propellants atomization

Abstract

Gel propellants present high performance and larger energy density, better storability and operational safety characteristics, and ease of transportation and storage than conventional liquid propellants.This research project aims to conduct a theoretical and experimental study of the injection process and gel propellant atomization by pressure-swirl and jet-swirl injectors, for applications in space propulsion.Initially, theoretical models will be developed to describe the flow of non-Newtonian fluids pressure-swirl and jet-swirl injectors. Prototypes of the injectors will be designed and manufactured from theoretical calculations. A specially designed test bench will be used to characterize the atomization of gelled fluids for applications in space propulsion. Different formulations of gelled fluids will be prepared, including ethanol, hydrogen peroxide and water.The performance of gel propellants injectors will be assessed by measuring the discharge coefficients under different operating conditions. The distribution functions of droplet sizes and representative sizes of the droplets will be measured by a laser diffraction system, with different feed pressures and propellant mass flow rates. The geometry of the sprays will be studied by photographic techniques and the experimental data will be compared to theoretical results. (AU)

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