An Experimental and Analytical Study of High-Energy-Density propellants for Liquid Rocket Engines
Kokan, Timothy Salim
Olds, John R.
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There exists wide ranging research interest in high-energy-density matter (HEDM) propellants as a potential replacement of existing industry standard fuels (LH2, RP-1, MMH, UDMH) for liquid rocket engines. The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, the U.S. Army Research Lab, and the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center each have ongoing programs in the synthesis and development of these potential new propellants. The thermophysical understanding of HEDM propellants is necessary to model their performance in the conceptual design of liquid rocket engines. Most industry standard powerhead design tools (e.g. NPSS, ROCETS, and REDTOP-2) require several thermophysical properties of a given propellant over a wide range of temperature and pressure. These properties include enthalpy, entropy, density, internal energy, specific heat, viscosity, and thermal conductivity. For most of these potential new HEDM propellants, this thermophysical data either does not exist or is incomplete over the range of temperature and pressure necessary for liquid rocket engine design and analysis. The work presented is a technique for obtaining enthalpy and density data for new propellants through the use of a combination of analytical/computational methods (quantum mechanics and molecular dynamics) and experimental investigations. Details of this technique and its application to an example HEDM fuel currently of interest are provided.