We’ve been pretty busy this week. This weekend, we spent some time testing out injectors and igniters in preparation for the engine firing that will (hopefully!) come during spring break. A picture’s worth a thousand words, so I suspect a thousand pictures at 30 frames a second should be worth much more than anything I can write here!
The igniters are pretty simple; just a nichrome wire which will be wrapped (or wrapped around) some cotton soaked in kerosene. When we put 24 volts across the wire, it draws a decent amperage and glows red-hot, igniting the cotton and kerosene. It’s pretty similar to the design we were planning on last year, but it doesn’t use pyrogen, so we don’t run into restrictions bring it in and out of the proving grounds of Orbital ATK.
Subteam Spotlight: Engine
The engine subteam will be spending the majority of this semester working with CAD softwares and simulation softwares in an attempt to fully understand the processes going on within the rocket engine. ANSYS and Autodesk CFD are our current simulation softwares of choice, and Autodesk Inventor is our CAD software. With any luck, we’l be able to incorporate advanced design features which will boost the performance of our engines through injectors which will allow us to control the combustion properties of the engine and engine geometry which gives us the most bang for our buck in terms of specific impulse and fuel efficiency.
Thanks to Stephen Pham for his hard work on these simulations. Haven’t quite gotten it right, but we’re getting there!
Separately from that, we’re also working on a ceramic rocket engine with another student group, Material Advantage. You may remember us helping them with a mold last week. In any case, the mold is finished and looks stunning.
Thanks to Material Advantage for their work on that! Unfortunately, the oven they were going to fire the engine in is waiting on maintenance, so we’ll have to wait a little while until we have a physical product. Just a prototype, so don’t get too excited just yet! Hopefully we’ll have a full size one soon and ready to fire though!
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