RECENT TRENDS IN SCRAMJET ENGINE TECHNOLOGYProblem Areas
4.1The main difficulty in scramjet operation is the short residence time of air in the engine i.e. a few thousandths of a second. So the task of burning the fuelin the scramjet resembles lighting a match inside a tornado and keeping it alightat any cost. The trick to work make a scramjet work lies in the extremelysophisticated shaping of the tubes inner geometry and deciding at which part of the tube the combustion is to be done. A scramjet generates stable thrust byprecisely controlling the speed and pressure of air flowing through the engineand by metering the fuel into the combustor so that it burns fully and releases itsenergy exactly as needed. Careful control of the relation between the flow areaand the heat release negates the need for mechanical choke of the Ramjet andenables the scramjet to maintain supersonic flow through the combustor.4.2Managing the thermal energy generated in the engine is a Herculean taskfor the researchers. Heat generation is primarily due to friction, from combustionprocess as well as from the heat flux due to internal shock waves impinging onthe engine wall as wall of the fore body. “
” is the concept adaptedto prevent melting down of the structure of the vehicle. Therefore studies oftenplan on "active cooling", where coolant circulating throughout the vehicle skinprevents it from disintegrating from the fiery atmospheric friction. Active coolingcould require more weight and complexity. There is also safety concern since it'san active system. Often, however, the coolant is the fuel itself, much in the sameway that modern rockets use their own fuel and oxidizer as coolant for their engines. Both scramjets and conventional rockets are at risk in the event of acooling failure.