Title: Simulating Rotating Detonation Rocket Engines
Abstract: Most rocket engines are designed to avoid the formation of detonation waves, due to the tendency of such waves to cause damage inside the engine. However, incorporating detonations into rocket design has the potential to improve engine performance — rotating detonation rocket engines aim to harness this potential, but the associated rapid fluctuations in temperature and pressure make the devices difficult to analyze experimentally. These challenges increase the importance of models that are capable of reproducing and explaining the large-scale behavior that can be observed in experiments. We use a series of simulations to explore how changing nozzle geometries affects detonation dynamics inside the combustion chamber, and show that the simulations capture experimentally-observed wave behavior. The simulations further demonstrate that, although the addition of a nozzle increases engine thrust, the changes in engine behavior can be detrimental to overall engine performance.