JHU ERG Completes Construction and Testing of New Facility to Evaluate Performance of Rocket Engine Cooling Mixtures
The Johns Hopkins University Energetics Research Group (JHU ERG) has, with support from the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), completed the construction and demonstration testing of a new facility to simulate liquid rocket engine cooling channels with cryogenic methane and liquid natural gas (LNG). The facility includes the capability to produce fuel mixtures in the laboratory to test sensitivity and impact of contaminants in methane fuel on operational performance metrics such as thermal stability (the propensity of the fuel to form carbonaceous deposits within the cooling channels, and thus inhibit heat transfer and increase pressure drop within the system), as well as investigate the heat transfer performance of various fuels.
When considering LNG as a space launch propellant engine and vehicle designers need to understand how the concentration of components present in the LNG effect overall system and engine performance; this new facility at Johns Hopkins University will help answer some of those outstanding questions. Once the effect of composition on performance is known it will be possible for space launch providers to specify and purchase the necessary grade of fuel to meet mission requirements and ensure costs are minimized, this is especially important as new methane and LNG fueled launch vehicles are planned to be reusable – making the cost of fuel a larger percentage of the amortized launch costs.
The final report for this SMC funded project will be provided to Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) under contract number FA8814-16-C-0006.
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