Propulsion

Film Cooled Surface

This cooling technique increases the efficiency of turbine blades.Turbine film cooling flows typically are subject to jet detachment and reduced cooling effectiveness for high blowing rates. Current concepts to improve jet attachment involve impractical or overly complex hole designs due to manufacturing or durability constraints. Novel film cooling concepts from NASA’s Glenn Research Center involve creating a V-shaped recess on the flow surface of a turbine blade to induce fluid, temperature, or shedding effects; threading turbine film cooling holes with helical channels or grooves (much like the threads of a screw) for the purpose of producing a swirling flow of cooling fluid exiting the film cooling hole; and pairing the threaded holes with holes that have an opposite direction of swirl.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Propulsion

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NASA’s Pursuit of Power

Advances in batteries and propulsion enable innovations in both terrestrial and deep-space power applications. Advances in Capacitor MaterialsElectrochemical capacitors, or supercapacitors, have gained intense interest as an alternative to traditional energy storage devices. Applications for supercapacitors range from plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) to backup power sources. While the power density of supercapacitors surpasses that of batteries, commercially available batteries have a significantly higher specific energy density.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Power Management, Propulsion, Batteries, Energy storage systems, Ultracapacitors and supercapacitors, Nanomaterials, Spacecraft

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Generation-2 Lean Direction Injection System

This technology eliminates the risk of flashback and auto-ignition, and achieves emission and operability goals. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio An advanced Lean-Direct-Injection (LDI) turbine engine combustor was developed. Named LDI-II, which stands for second-generation LDI, this technology has vastly improved and expanded the performance characteristics of the initial LDI design by not only exceeding NASA’s N+2 emissions goal, but also meeting the operability requirements of full engine power range. The key enabling feature of the technology is the coherence combination of fuel staging and positioning/sizing of swirler-venturi fuel/air mixer elements.

Posted in: Briefs, Propulsion, Exhaust emissions, Fuel injection, Gas turbines

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Testing Aircraft Electric Propulsion Systems on NASA’s Modular Stand

This test stand allows the aviation industry to test a wide range of electric propulsion systems to understand efficiencies and identify needed design improvements.As powered flight expands to include electric propulsion technologies, aeronautics designers need to understand the electrical, aerodynamic, and structural characteristics of these systems. Therefore, researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center have developed a modular test stand to conduct extensive measurements for efficiency and performance of electric propulsion systems up to 100 kW in scale.

Posted in: Briefs, Propulsion

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Iodine-Compatible Hall Effect Thruster

The use of iodine reduces the technical demands on thruster design. Iodine-compatible Hall effect thruster. The Hall effect thruster (HET) was designed for long-duration operation with gaseous iodine as the propellant. Iodine is an alternative to the state-of-the-art propellant xenon. Compared to xenon, iodine stores as a solid at much higher density and at a much lower pressure. Because iodine is a halogen, it is reactive with some of the materials with which a Hall thruster is typically constructed. Through research and testing, the new method allows for the HET to be used with iodine propellant for long periods of time.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Propulsion, Propellants, Spacecraft fuel, Storage, Rocket engines

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Burnable-Poison-Operated Reactor Using Gadolinium Loaded Alloy

The problem to be resolved in this work was the use of radial control drums as the sole active reactivity control system for nuclear thermal propulsion, which results in significant rocket performance changes during full-power operation. This can result in large inefficiencies in propellant usage, inaccurate estimations in Isp and thrust, and can be a dangerous operation requiring continuous active control of the reactor given the unstable nature of current nuclear thermal rocket reactor designs.

Posted in: Briefs, Propulsion

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An On-Demand Gas Generator for CubeSat or Low-Mass Propulsion Systems

This system is applicable to aerospace, automotive, ocean/marine, or limited-resource environments.NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CaliforniaThere are difficulties related to storing enough gas to propel a CubeSat within an onboard tank. Currently, a CubeSat requiring a large volume of gas for extended propulsion (outside Earth orbit) would need to store liquefied gases that require heavy-bodied tanks that add significant weight to the spacecraft. Safe storage of gases is difficult and not suited well to the CubeSat platform.

Posted in: Briefs, Propulsion

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