Autophage engines: towards a throttleable solid motor

Yemets, V., Harkness, P. , Dron, M., Pashkov, A., Worrall, K. and Middleton, M. (2018) Autophage engines: towards a throttleable solid motor. Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, 55(4), pp. 984-992. (doi: 10.2514/1.A34153)

155610.pdf - Accepted Version



This paper describes the instrumented test firing of a rocket that seeks to combine the throttleability of a liquid-fueled engine with the simplicity of a solid motor. The concept is that a differentiated fuel and oxidizer rod is forced into a vaporization unit where its constituents transition into separate propellant gases, which are then mixed in a combustion chamber. The vaporization unit is heated by the combustion, and the throttle setting is adjusted by changing the force used to drive the solid propellant rod into the vaporizer, which naturally influences the propellant feed rate. In experiments using a solid propellant rod consisting of polypropylene fuel and a 1∶1.5 mixture of NH4ClO4 and NH4NO3 oxidizer, operations have been sustained for around 60 s. During testing, using propellant feed forces of between 250 and 900 N, propellant feed rates of between 100 and 300 mm/min have been achieved, which are in turn correlated to chamber pressures of between approximately 300 and 700 kPa. These correlated cycles of control input (the feed force), throttle response (the propellant feed rate), and implied thrust (the chamber pressure) demonstrate, for the first time, a simple solid rocket that can be throttled in real time.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Middleton, Mr Michael and Worrall, Dr Kevin and Harkness, Professor Patrick
Authors: Yemets, V., Harkness, P., Dron, M., Pashkov, A., Worrall, K., and Middleton, M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Publisher:American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc.
ISSN (Online):1533-6794
Published Online:17 April 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Patrick Harkness
First Published:First published in Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets 55(4): 984-992
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher
Data DOI:10.5525/gla.researchdata.605

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record