Role Of Hydrogen Injection Temperature On The Combustion Instability Of Cryogenic Rocket Engine
Physical mechanism for high frequency instability in cryogenic engines at low hydrogen injection temperature has been a subject of debate for long time. Experimental and early developmental studies revealed no instabilities and it was only much later when liquid hydrogen at lower initial temperature (~50 to 100 K) was injected into the combustion chamber that instabilities were detected. From the compilations of the experimental data related to the instability of cryogenic engines by Hulka and Hutt, it was found that the instability was strongly connected to the temperature of hydrogen. Experiments conducted with hydrogen temperature ramping from a higher value to lower values indicated that the temperatures in excess of 90 K favor stability under most practical operating conditions. Even though this has been known for over forty years, there has been no clear and simple explanation for this. Many physical mechanisms have been hypothesized to explain how temperature ramping causes instability, but all appear to have limited range of applicability. Current understanding of cryogenic engine combustion instability has been achieved through a combination of experimental investigation and approximate analytical models as well as CFD tools. Various researchers have tried to link the low hydrogen injection temperature combustion instability phenomena with various potential mechanisms for combustion instability. They involve coupling of combustion acoustics with atomization, vaporization, mixing, chemical kinetics or any combination of these processes. Various studies related to the effect of recess, injector hydrodynamics, acoustic damping of gas liquid scheme injectors and effect of drop size distribution on the stability characteristics of cryogenic engines were compiled in the thesis. Several researchers examined fuel droplet vaporization as the rate controlling mechanism. Recently a new method for the evaluation of stability characteristics of the engine using model chamber were proposed by Russians and this is based on mixing as the rate controlling mechanism. Pros and cons of this method were discussed. Some people examined the combustion instability of rocket engines based on chemistry dynamics. A considerable amount of analytical and numerical studies were carried out by various researchers for finding out the cause of combustion instability. Because of the limitations of their analysis, they could not successfully explain the cause of combustion instability at low hydrogen injection temperature. A compilation of previous numerical studies were carried out. A number of researchers have applied CFD in the study of combustion instabilities in liquid propellant rocket engines. In the present thesis, a theoretical model has been developed based on the vaporization of droplets to predict the stability characteristics of the engine. The proposed concept focuses on three dimensional simulation of combustion instability for giving some meaningful explanations for the experimental work presented in the literature. In the present study the pressure wave corresponding to the transverse modes were superimposed on a three dimensional steady state operating conditions. Steady state parameters were obtained from the three dimensional combustion modeling. The conservation equations for mass, momentum and energy are non dimensionalized for facilitating the order of magnitude analysis. In order to do the stability analysis, variables are represented as the sum of their steady values and deviation from the steady state. A harmonic time dependence is assumed for the perturbations. For the transverse mode of oscillations independent variables of the zeroth order equations are r and θ only and the dependant variables are not functions of the axial distance. The axial dependence comes only through the first order equations. In this analysis, the wave motion in the combustion chamber is assumed to be linear, confining the nonlinearity to the vaporization process only. The reason behind making this assumption is that the vaporization process is the major mechanism driving the instability. Vaporization histories of liquid oxygen drops in a combustor with superimposed transverse oscillations were computed and stability characteristics of the engine were estimated. The stability characteristics of the engine are accessed from the solutions of first order equations. Effects of various parameters like droplet diameter, hydrogen injection temperature and hydrogen injection area on the stability characteristics of cryogenic engines are studied. A comparison of predicted and published experimental results was made which showed general agreement between experiment and computation. The present study and experimental results show clearly that hydrogen injection velocity is the critical parameter for instability rather than hydrogen injection temperature. What has happened in actual experiments when hydrogen injection temperature is varied is an effective alteration of the injection velocity that leads to the situation of instability. For higher relative velocity between hydrogen and liquid oxygen, the response of the vaporization rate in the presence of pressure wave is minimum compared to lower relative velocity. Due to this cryogenic engines will go to unstable mode at lower relative velocity.
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