Preliminary design of a small-scale liquid-propellant rocket engine testing platform

University essay from Luleå tekniska universitet/Rymdteknik

Author: Erik Andersson; [2019]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: Propulsion system testing before mission operation is a fundamental requirement in any project. For both industrial and commercial entities within the space industry, complete system integration into a static test platform for functional and performance testing is an integral step in the system development process. Such a platform - if designed to be relatively safe, uncomplicated and reliable - can be an important tool within academia as well, giving researchers and students a possibility for practical learning and propulsion technology research. In this thesis, a preliminary design for a liquid-propellant rocket engine testing platform to be used primarily for academical purposes is developed. Included in the presented design is a bi-propellant Chemical Propulsion system, gas pressure fed with Gaseous Nitrogen and using Gaseous Oxygen as oxidiser and a 70 % concentrated ethanol-water mixture as fuel. The propellant assembly contains all necessary components for operating the system and performing combustion tests with it, including various types of valves, tanks and sensors. An estimation of the total preliminary cost of selected components is presented as well. Also part of the developed platform design is a small thrust chamber made of copper, water-cooled and theoretically capable of delivering 1000 N of thrust using the selected propellants. A list of operations to be performed before, during and after a complete combustion test is presented at the end of the document, together with a preliminary design of a Digital Control and Instrumentation System software. Due to time limitations, the software could not be implemented in a development program nor tested with simulated parameters as part of this thesis project.

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