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Rocket Engines

Rocket Equation

Staging

Spacecraft Maneuvers

NASA Image

MAE 155A

high-pressure mixture of gases that expand through a convergent-divergent nozzle. Fuel and an “oxidizer” are burned in the combustion chamber to yield a high-temperature. Thrust Equation: T = m ˙ air m ˙ fuel V e − m ˙ air V a p e − p a A e T =thrust m ˙ = propellant mass flow rate V e =exit velocity p e =exit static pressure Ae= exit area V a = freestream velocity p a = ambient static pressure m ˙ = m ˙ fuel m ˙ oxidizer T ≈m ˙ V e p e Ae MAE 155A 2 .Rocket Engines A rocket engine does not use air for its combustion process.

pressure T e .Exit Velocity Energy Equation: 1 1 2 c p T 1 V 2 = c T V 2 1 p 2 2 2 Isentropic flow equations: 1 c p T c =c p T e V 2 2 e p2 p1 = T2 T1 /−1 Te Tc = pc p e k −1 / k Combine to yield: V2 = e 2 k RT c k −1 [ ] 1− pe pc k −1 / k c p = specific heat at constant pressure k = ratio of specific heats propellants T c . pressure V e= exit velocity MAE 155A 3 . p e= exit temperature . p c =combustion chamber temperature .

M e= Ve M e= exit Mach number V e =exit velocity T e =exit temperature k RT e The area ratio of a rocket engine is the ratio of exit area to throat area. [ Ae At 2 = 1 2 Me 2 k −1 1 k 1 2 k 1 k −1 M2 e ] Ae= exit area At = nozzle throat area MAE 155A 4 . Area ratio ranges from 12 (first-stage) to over 50 (space applications).Exit Mach and Area Ratio The exit Mach number is also found from the sonic exit velocity.

p t . pressure . density V t = throat velocity . t =throat temperature . At =throat area Tc Tt = 1 k −1 2 k 1 Mt= 2 2 pc pt = 1 k −1 2 k k −1 = M2 t k 1 2 k 2 R T c k 1 k k −1 m ˙ = p c At k k 1 RTc 2 − k 1 2 k −1 m ˙ = p c At k 1 k −1 MAE 155A 5 .Mass Flow Rate Mass flow rate assumes sonic velocity at the nozzle throat: M t =1 V t = k R T t t = pt RT t m ˙ =t At V t = p t At k RTt Isentropic flow relations again: T t .

Specific Impulse Rocket engine performance is usually defined by its specific impulse. T =V e m m ˙ ˙ pe Ae T = m ˙ [] 2k RT c k −1 1− pe pc k −1 k p e Ae p c At T T I sp ≡ = w ˙ gc m ˙ RT c 2 k k 1 k 1 k −1 1 I sp = gc [] 2k RT c k −1 1− pe pc k −1 k p e Ae g c p c At k RT c 2 k 1 k 1 k −1 MAE 155A 6 .

26 1.33 Molecular Weight Kerosene-Oxygen Hydrogen-Oxygen Hydrogen-Fluorine 22 9-16 10-12 R R = = specific gas constant M R=8314 J =universal gas constant kg mol K = molecular weight of combustion products M MAE 155A 7 .Rocket Fuel Combinations Fuel-Oxidizer Flame Temperature (K) 3144-3555 2689-3517 3869-4756 Exit Velocity (m/s) 2788 3760 3774 Specific Impulse (s) 240-285 360-384 385-390 Ratio of Specific Heats 1.24 1.

dV m = T − D − mg ≃T dt dV −T dt dV g c I sp = =− =−m m dm dm ˙ dt m dm −T m ˙= = dt g c I sp m= total mass V = velocity T =thrust D = drag − g c I sp ∫ mi mf 1 dm = ∫ dV m 0 Vb V b = g c I sp ln mi mf MAE 155A mi mf = exp Vb g c I sp 8 .Rocket (Tsiolkowski) Equation Use the Rocket Equation to compute the burnout (or boost) velocity that is obtained by a fuel-burning rocket.

m s = structural mass m p = propellent mass m L = payload 1st Stage: mi1 = m p1 m s1 mi2 mi1 m f1 m f1 = m s1 m i2 V b1 = g c I sp ln = g c I sp ln m p1 m s1 mi2 m s1 mi2 9 2nd Stage: mi2 = m p2 m s2 m L mi2 m f2 m f2 = m s2 m L V b2 = V b1 g c I sp ln =V b1 g c I sp ln m p2 m s2 m L m s2 m L MAE 155A .Rocket Staging The burnout velocity calculation for a multi-stage rocket requires the burnout velocity to be computed for earlier stages.

mf mi Vf i − g c I sp ∫ 1 dm = ∫ dV m V mi mf = exp V f −V i g c I sp mi mf = exp V g c I sp mi =initial mass m f = final mass m p = propellant mass V m p = m i − m f = m f exp −m f g c I sp m p = m f exp [ ] V −1 g c I sp 10 MAE 155A .Propellent for Maneuvers Propellent use for maneuvering is found using the Rocket Equation.

jsp Aviation Week. McGraw-Hill Company.Additional Information Aviation Week Magazine's Sourcebook provides listings of aircraft engines and rocket-powered launch vehicles. 2001.com/aw/sourcebook/index. MAE 155A 11 . http://www.aviationweek.

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