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Pulsed Detonation Engine (PDE) Research

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Due to advanced propulsion needs, unconventional thermodynamic cycles are being explored to provide higher performance and lower costs. One such alternative propulsion cycle that has been the subject of growing attention in the last decade is the pulsed detonation engine or PDE . PDE ’s utilize the detonative mode of combustion to provide pressure rise and eliminate the need for much of the complexity of current propulsion systems. The resulting engine may be simple, low in cost, and highly scalable with recent performance studies covering over 5 orders of magnitudes in installed thrust. Theoretically, air breathing PDE ’s produce thrust from static to Mach 4+ conditions, a range which no other single-cycle propulsion system can efficiently cover. This seminar will provide an overview of pulsed detonation research: starting with what is a detonation/PDE and covering research issues such as detonation initiation, propagation, and blow down. Due to the highly unstable conditions associated with working in a detonative environment, unique research facilities, experimental techniques, unsteady cycle analysis and computational tools are required to perform research. In addition to describing some of the above areas, applications of pulsed detonation technology will also be addressed including high speed propulsion and hybrid concepts.

Presenters Biog: Dr. Fred Schauer (Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio) received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign developing laser diagnostics and CFD for turbulent flame interactions. Since 1997, he has served as the principal investigator for AFRL ’s in-house pulse detonation engine (PDE) research program. In addition to heading what is now AFRL ’s Propulsion Emerging Research Program, which consists of the Pulsed Detonation Research Facility and the Small Engine Research Laboratory, he is the designer of AFRL ’s in-house research pulse detonation engines which have demonstrated breakthroughs in operation, performance, frequency, multi-tube operation, cost, run duration, durability, and detonation initiation. He has participated in numerous PDE projects with industry, academia, DARPA , ONR, NRL , the Naval Postgraduate School, NASA , and EOARD . Under his supervision, his research group has won awards for top AFOSR research team, the AFRL Commander’s Cup, two time winners of the AFRL Science & Technology Achievement Award, finalists for the Collier Trophy and Aviation Laureate, and Dr. Schauer was recently named Air Force Scientist of the Year and AIAA Engineer of the Year.

This talk is part of the Engineering Department Energy, Fluids and Thermo seminars series.

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