Aerospike Nozzle

Topics: Spacecraft propulsion, Rocket, Aerospike engine Pages: 10 (3190 words) Published: March 19, 2014

Numerical Analysis of optimized Aerospike nozzle based on combustion chamber temperatures Sanalkumar V.R.
Swathi Marudhamuthu; Gopinath Jayaraj; Hemasai Nagaraj;
Meghana Raj; Anoovendhan Subramanian;
Acknowledged by : Mohanraj Murugesan


The research about rocket propulsion has been raised to the level of a higher thrust at high effeciency with a number of methods. Aerospike nozzle is a type of nozzle in which the external surface of the bell nozzle has been inverted inwards to form a spike. Unlike a bell nozzle, aerospike nozzle is an external flow aerodynamic concept as , at the exhaust the flow moves over the external surface of the spike, introducing itself into the atmosphere well before than that of the bell or linear nozzle types. Since it reaches a lower pressure , the mach number increases and thus producing a higher thrust through the exhaust. Moreover its streamlined flow dissimilar to the bell nozzle’s diverged exhaust, would increase the rocket thrust considerably. The spike could also be formed by inverting the upper surface of the airfoil and thus we can bring in the concepts of a better pressure distribution at the exhaust which is the challenge in rocket propulsion. Likewise, when the spike nozzle is made movable horizontally like in a joystick just through one direction, thrust vectoring can be enhanced as well. Thus the intoduction of aerospike nozzles in rocket propulsion and space shuttles could enhance the thrust, pressure distribution, effeciency and also thrust vectoring properties.


American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 2
moveable spike for thrust vectoring and throttling could provide a more efficient alternative to traditional bell nozzles. Aerospike nozzles with optimal thrust vector control will provide added safety and improved capability to the aerospike rocket test projects, as well as economic benefit through the reuse of nozzles. Thrust vectoring and throttling capabilities would provide control of flight regimes (speed, angle of incidence, transients, and other flight conditions). In addition, flights with thrust vector control would have less dispersion and therefore could be confined to a smaller test area, which would improve range safety. An aerospike nozzle with thrust vector control would be appropriate for future single-stage-to-orbit programs. In the future, single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) reusable launch vehicles (RLV) will provide relatively inexpensive and widespread commercial access to space. Due to their inherent altitude compensation, aerospike rocket nozzles are ideal for SSTO vehicles. A self-contained aerospike nozzle with thrust vectoring and throttling capability would provide a practical, cost-effective means of controlling the rocket flight path for such vehicles. These are succinctly reported by Thomas W. Carpenter.1 The altitude compensation ability of the aerospike nozzle is what makes this type of nozzle worth exploring. Initial research on the aerospike nozzle was first conducted in the 1950s, but there has been little testing done until the last twenty years.2 Theoretically the aerospike delivers excellent altitude compensation because the exhaust gases are at the same pressure as the ambient pressure. In comparison, the bell-shaped nozzle contains the exhaust gases and is fixed by the nozzle geometry until reaching the exit. In other words, since the exhaust gases of an aerospike are not contained by boundaries, the gas expansion is contained by the atmospheric pressure without regard to altitude.3 To further optimize the altitude compensation capability of the aerospike, there has been research conducted to incorporate a moveable plug. By moving the aerospike plug it is possible to change the throat area to throttle the rocket body. Changing the throat area allows the rocket to adapt to differing atmospheric pressures and maintain an ideal nozzle pressure ratio.4 Adapting to changing atmospheric pressures...

References: 1Thomas W. Carpenter, “Optimal Thrust Vectoring for an Annular Aerospike Nozzle,” NASA STTR 2004 Solicitation, Phase –1 Contract number, NND05AA53C. 2Besnard, Eric and Garvey, John. 'Development and Flight-Testing of Liquid Propellant of Aerospike Engines", Proceedings of the 40th annual AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, AIAA Fort Lauderdale, FL, 2004, AIAA paper 2004-3354. 3William Scott Case, “Aerospike thrust vectoring slot-type compound nozzle, MS Thesis, Mechanical Engineering Department, California Polytechnic State, University, San Luis Obispo, June 2010. 4Nyberg, Donald Gerrit, Groudle, Thomas Adrian, Smith, Richard Doyle, U.S. Patent No. 7,565,797. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 2009. 5Kirk,D.R., “Rocket Nozzles,” Lecture Note MAE 4262: Rockets and Mission Analysis, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, Florida Institute of Technology, October 14, 2010. 6George P Sutton and Oscar Biblarz, “Rocket propulsion elements,” 7th Edn., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 2001. 7 Robert A.Wasko., “Performance of annular plug and expansion-deflection nozzles including external flow effects at transonic Mach numbers,” NASA Technical Note, Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio, 1968. 8 John J. Korte, “Parametric model of an aerospike rocket engine,” AIAA Paper 2000-1044. 9 Takashi Ito and Kozo Fuji, “Flow field and performance analysis of an annular type aerospike nozzle with base bleeding,” Tran. Japan Soc. Aero. Space Sci. Vol. 46, No.151, pp. 17-23, 2003. 10Marcello Onofri,” Plug nozzles: Summary of flow features and engine performance,” AIAA Paper 2002-0584. 11Hanumanthrao.K, Ragothaman.S, Arun Kumar.B, and Giri Prasad.M, “Studies on fluidic injection thrust vectoring technique in an aerospike nozzle using k-ε model,” B.E Project Report, Department of Aeronautical Engineering, Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore, India, May 2010.
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