A Caltech Library Service

Chemical Reactions in a Scramjet Combustor and Two-Dimensional Nozzles


Yeung, Moon-Tai (1993) Chemical Reactions in a Scramjet Combustor and Two-Dimensional Nozzles. Engineer's thesis, California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/vw7e-nq49.


Finite-rate chemistry of hydrogen-air combustion is to be investigated numerically in a one-dimensional constant pressure SCRAMJET combustor and two-dimensional nozzles. Detailed reaction mechanisms and temperature dependent thermodynamics are to be used in the models. The aspects of interest include the combustion characteristics at different fuel-air ratios, pressures and initial temperatures in the combustor. Methods for enhancing the combustion rate in the combustor is to be studied also. The effect of expansion rate on the hydrogen-air reactions is the prime focus of the nozzle calculation. The results from different inlet conditions and wall geometries are to be analyzed.

A computer model for a one-dimensional (channel-flow) combustor is constructed based on the chemical kinetics subroutine library CHEMKIN. Subsequent calculations show that the initial temperature is the most important parameter in the combustor. It is further discovered that certain reaction steps are responsible for the initial delay exhibited in all hydrogen-air combustion processes. Low temperature behavior is studied extensively and augmentation methods are developed. The introduction of a small percentage of the hydrogen radical into the initial mixture is found to be the most effective in reducing the reaction delay. The combustor pressure enters the overall reaction process in a linear manner. The calculations over five combustor pressures show that the initial delay in hydrogen-air reaction and the following period of explosion are proportional to the combustor pressure raised to certain powers.

The nozzle model is two-dimensional, steady and inviscid with no conductivity and diffusivity. Two schemes are developed to handle the boundary conditions. One is based on pure numerical interpolation/extrapolation methods while the other imposes analytical supersonic characteristic equations. The former scheme is found to be more efficient while the latter is more accurate. In analysing the response of the combustion product to an expansion, it is found that the formation of water is favoured by an expansion. A closer examination reveals that the behavior can be attributed to the abundance of free radicals in the nozzle inlet composition. Freezing is not clearly observed except for the NOx species.

Item Type:Thesis (Engineer's thesis)
Subject Keywords:Aeronautics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Kubota, Toshi (advisor)
  • Leonard, Anthony (advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Zukoski, Edward E.
  • Kubota, Toshi
  • Leonard, Anthony
Defense Date:6 October 1992
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:04152011-095847676
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:6333
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:20 Apr 2011 18:08
Last Modified:16 Apr 2021 23:14

Thesis Files

PDF - Final Version
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page