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Design methodology
3.1 Introduction
In this chapter, firstly the design strategy is defined by specifying the
analysis priorities and by specifying some variables such as the type of
the propellants to be used, the engine cycle, etc, besides other
considerations. Then, relations that can be used to quantify the engine
requirements for mass and pressure, besides relations and other
considerations which are necessary for pumps selection, turbine
preliminary selection, turbine optimization and turbo-pump
configuration all are discussed in a step by step manner. Broadly
speaking, it can be said that the content of this chapter is a projection
to the design flow chart in verbal and mathematical expressions.
3.2 Design flow chart
Figure (3-1.A) is a proposed basic flow chart that can further be
developed to a more detailed chart, figure (3-1.B), addressing the
design sequences. Figure (3-1.A) can be read in the following simple
The specific thrust required by the missile when analyzed can point out
the design goals of the pumping system which in turn give the
specifications of each pump.
The specifications of the turbine performance and the arrangement of
the different components of the turbo-pump can then be decided on.
Analysis of engine requirements, analysis of the available energy in the
turbine drive gas, the hydrodynamic constraints, the mechanical
constraints, optimization among the numerous design requirements

and constraints, all are samples of the details waiting to be addressed.

So, the basic flow chart only highlights the way to the more detailed

Missile requirements
(Thrust and specific impulse)

Design goals of the pumping system

Oxidizer pump specifications

Turbine specifications

Fuel pump specifications

Turbine shaft power and speed

Figure (3-1 .A): Basic flow chart.


Turbo-pump arrangement

Figure (3-1.B): Detailed flow chart

3.3 Design Strategy

The design strategy was based on the following considerations:
Because pump configuration is based on the requirements
derived from the engine system, the engine requirements will be
analyzed first.
Engine thrust at sea level and chamber pressure, as known
parameters, are assumed to be the key parameters for starting
the work.
Pumps parametric analysis will be performed before the turbine
Each component of the system will be optimized separately and
then after the optimum arrangement of the components is
selected, a new optimization process for the whole system will be
Ready developed technology will be under focus while conducting
the design specially when selecting the turbine.
The gas generator cycle is assumed to be the working cycle.
Due to its ease of application, the regenerative cooling is chosen
to be the working cooling system.
The thesis will not go deeply in the cooling system analysis in
order to keep the way forward to the main subject.
The propellant combination is kerosene and red fuming nitric acid
for their availability and ease of handling and storing.
Some data will initially be inputs to the program depending on the
common literature, then, more realistic values when predicted
will be final inputs to the program.

3.4. The engine requirements for flow and pressure

3.4.1 Flow requirements

On the basics of mass conservation, the mass flow rate of exhaust gases
of the engine is the same as the propellants mass flow rate delivered by
the pumps to the engine combustion chamber. Equation 3.1 below, the
simple thrust equation, relates the engine thrust,
to the mass flow
rate, ,of the propellant:

The ideal exhaust gas velocity,

equation 3.2 as follows [14]:

, of equation 3.1 can be expressed in

The actual exhaust velocity, , is about 0.85 to 0.98 of the theoretical
one [14]. An average correction factor of 0.92 is going to be assumed in
this thesis.
With the aid of combustion charts, equations (3.1) and (3.2) can be
solved for a given engine (specifications of which are known such as:
chamber pressure, thrust, propellant type) resulting in good data
about mass flow rate of the propellant required to be injected by the
pumping system into the engine combustion chamber.
Combustion charts are available for different pairs of propellant [10].
Figures (A.1), (A.2), (A.3) and (A.4) of appendix (A) show the variations

of combustion parameters with chamber pressure for Nitric Acid and

Kerosene (Liquid oxygen and Kerosene, Liquid oxygen and Methane are
also shown in appendix A). These charts can be considered as sources of
data for driving relationship between each parameter and the chamber
pressure as the independent variable [10].
Equations (3.3), (3.4), (3.5), and (3.6) below are deduced from
combustion charts of Nitric acid and Kerosene by making use of curvefitting procedure. Each equation relates one of the combustion
parameters to the chamber pressure. They can be used in solving
equation (3.2).
Equation of the mixture ratio,


Equation of the chamber temperature,


Equation of the average molecular weight,


Equation of the specific heat ratio, :


It is worth mentioning that:

The mixture ratio calculated by equation (3.3) is the optimum
mixture ratio corresponding to an exit pressure of 1 atm.

The chamber temperature calculated by equation (3.4) is the

adiabatic flame temperature which also corresponds to an exit
pressure of 1 atm.
The molecular weight calculated by equation (3.5) corresponds to
a modified mixture ratio.
The specific heat ratio calculated by equation (3.6) corresponds to
a modified mixture ratio.
The concept of the mixture ratio can be used to estimate the mass flow
rate of each propellant injected into the combustion chamber. It is
explained in equation (3.7) below:


Of course these are not the actual pumps flow rates as long as the gas
generator is the working cycle. The mass flow rates required by the
turbine have to be estimated, which, when added to the mass flow
rates required by the combustion chamber of the main engine, give the
exact mass flow rates delivered by the pumps. This is expressed in
equation (3.8) below:



Initially, the percentage of the propellant bled off the main flow and
sent to the gas generator will be assumed. Typical values of such a
percentage are 1 to 7 [3, 1]. This will result in a suitable mass flow rate

or say , injected into the gas generator and then expanded

in the turbine. By assuming a suitable value for the mixture ratio of the
gas generator, the mass flow rate of each propellant (
and )
can be estimated. A more realistic value of the propellant flow rate

injected into the gas generator will be estimated later in section

( of this chapter, using relations addressing the turbine
requirements for the drive power.

3.4.2 Pressure requirements

Regarding the pressure, it should be put in mind that there is the
injection requirement for pressure difference
, besides
considerable friction losses in the flow lines mainly the cooling jacket
expressed as pressure drops,
. Hence; the pumps should deliver
propellants at a discharge pressure
considerably higher than the
pressure of the main combustion chamber
. This is expressed in
equation (3.9) below:
The term
disappears when dealing with the oxidizer line provided
that the coolant is the fuel and the piping losses are negligible.
Therefore, for a given chamber pressure of a rocket engine, the
discharge pressure for each pump can be obtained if other pressure
drops could be estimated. Other pressure drops can be estimated as
Pressure drop due to injection
For injection pressure drops, equation (3.10) below can be used [3]:


This implies that:


, which implies that:

For rocket engines, the injection velocity is between 30 to 45 m / s [6].

So, if suitable injection parameters are selected based on common
literature, the pressure drop due to injection can be predicted. Also,
considering the injector, its number of orifices
is countable such


Pressure drop in the flow passage

Flow lines include the piping and cooling jacket. The following empirical
correlations can be used in estimating pressure drop (
) in the
cooling system and pipes assuming smooth tubing:
(For turbulent flow), [6]


(For laminar flow), [19]


The fluid velocity

is the variable through which the pressure drop
caused by frictional losses can be controlled. The fluid velocity can be
controlled through the dimensions such as the hydraulic passage when
dealing with the cooling requirements. So, the hydraulic passage should
be the one that expected to satisfy the cooling requirements when
dealing with the thermal considerations, section (3.8). It is clear that to

obtain the pressure drop caused by frictional losses of the flow,

preliminary data about the engine and piping dimensions are required.
Preliminary estimations of engine dimensions
The assumption of a simple De Laval configuration with a convergent
half angle of 30 and a divergent half angle of 15 is quiet enough to
help in estimating the engine dimensions for the purpose of pressure
drop and heat transfer calculations [6].
Equations of ideal rocket parameters [3] will be used and they are
summarized in the following three paragraphs:
a. Equations defining the parameters of nozzle throat
The nozzle throat area is

such that:

All parameters are the same as those of equation (3.2).

The gas pressure at the nozzle throat is

such that:

The gas temperature at the nozzle throat is

such that:


b. Equations defining parameters of nozzle exit

To find the nozzle exit area, the Mach number (

) at that area should

first be found. It is given by the perfect gas expansion law as follows:

The nozzle exit area is

such that:


c. Characteristic parameters of engine chamber

To estimate the chamber dimensions, the following two characteristic
parameters are defined:
Contraction ratio ( ):
It is the ratio of the chamber diameter to the throat diameter. It defines
the optimum diameter to be given to the combustion chamber so that
reduced losses due to flow velocity of gases within the chamber, and in
the same time the least usable face area for the injection, both are
satisfied. It is expressed as:


Typical values for (

): 1.2 to 4 according to the engine size [6]. It

decreases with increasing engine thrust.

Characteristic chamber length ( ):
It is defined as the length that a chamber of the same volume (

would have if it were a straight tube (no convergent section). It defines

the minimum chamber length that permits sufficient time for the
combustion to complete. It is expressed as:
Typical values for ( ) [6]: 2 to 3 m for nitric acid and hydrocarbons
Now, by assuming suitable values for the contraction ratio, , and the
characteristic length, , the previous set of equations yield good data
about the chamber dimensions. Then, the pressure drop caused by the
cooling mission of the coolant is predictable for a suitable coolant

3.5 Pump parameters

Now, for each pump, the design speed and the configuration are going
to be selected based on optimizing each pump for its propellant in such
a way that the discharge pressure, flow rate, inlet conditions (NPSH)
and operating range must all be satisfied as they are pumping

requirements deduced from the engine system. The power required by

each pump besides its efficiency is also going to be estimated.
3.5.1 Design speed
A suitable shaft speed based on the suction conditions available at the
pump inlet has to be estimated. Equation 3.20 below [6] represents a
practical formula which relates the shaft speed (N) to the lowest
required suction pressure,
above vapor pressure of the liquid being
pumped. It is an empirical formula derived for pumps employed in
rocket engines by Russian engineers.


is the minimum required suction pressure,
is the vapor
pressure of the liquid being pumped,
is the specific density,
The parameter is a constant having a value lying between 13 and 17
Equation 3 .20 can be rearranged to read:

Equation 3.21


can be used to estimate the maximum shaft speed

(rpm) for a fixed suction pressure.

3.5.2 Configuration
An important selection criterion which reflects the difference in
characteristics of pump geometry is the specific speed (
) which is a
function of the shaft speed (N), volumetric flow (Q), and pump head
(H). It is expressed in equation 3.22 below:

The pump head, , is a function of the required discharge pressure,

the available inlet pressure,

, and the propellant density, . This is
expressed in equation 3.23 below:


Specific speed ranging from 0.2 to 0.4 indicates centrifugal pumps,

whereas that ranging from 0.6 to 0.8 indicates mixed flow pumps and it
is above 2.5 for pure axial flow pumps [3].
Further speed and configuration optimization is possible, if required,
but it dictates elevating the head available at the pump inlet.
3.5.3 Size of the pumping element
The size of the pumping element can be obtained by making use of the
concept of the head coefficient ( ) which is the ratio of discharge head,
to the kinetic head of the blade tip as in equation 3.24 below:

Empirical correlations relating the head coefficient to the specific speed

are available. So, it is a function of the pump type and in the same time
it establishes the diameter of the required pumping element and
number of stages to develop the required pump head for a given shaft
speed. Equation 2.25 below is an empirical correlation that can be used
to estimate the head coefficient [22?]:


(For specific speed less than unity)

(For specific speed greater than unity)



It is mentioned that the head requirements for high-density fluids such

as RP-1 (refined petroleum grade 1 or rocket propellant 1) can be
generated with a single stage centrifugal pump, with the impeller
diameter well within aluminum and nickel-base alloy steel structural
limits [1].
3.5.4 Efficiency and power
The pump overall efficiency,

, can be estimated using Anderson

correlation [22] with some care to its limitations. It is presented in

equation 3.26:
is the specific speed in U.S terms which is expressed as:

In SI units the equation could be rewritten as:


Anderson correlation has the following limitations:


a. X is a correction factor for pumps with specific speed


than unity.
b. It assumes that the fluid being pumped is water. Therefore,
another correction factor may be required especially when the
head - flow Reynolds number (
) is relatively low. Typical
values of

which do not impose a correction factor are

values greater than 2E5 [22?].

We have to check for the two correction factors. If the value of sp is
less than unity then the value of X in Anderson correlation is unity. If
the value of our
is greater than 2E5 then also no correction
factor is required.

is expressed as follows [22]:


Shaft power of each pump can be estimated as follows:

Oxidizer pump shaft power (

Fuel pump shaft power (


) is:

) is:



3.5.5 Optimization scenario

According to equation (3.27), the pump efficiency can further be
optimized dramatically by increasing the rotational speed. Maximum
pump efficiency can generally be developed in the specific speed range
of 0.6 to 0.8 approximately [3].
The decision to increase the pump rotational speed to achieve a better
optimum performance is not an easy decision. The pump rotational
speed strongly affects all other design parameters of the turbo-pump
components and the component arrangement. Chart of figure (3-2)
describes briefly the effect of increasing the pump rotational speed on
other turbo-pump design parameters.


Figure 3.2 Effect of increasing pump speed on other design parameters


3.6 Turbine parameters

3.6.1 Preliminary selection
The previous analysis on the pump section has quantified the power
required by the feed pumps which in turn indicates how much power
should be produced by the turbine. If the two pumps are driven by a
single turbine, figure (3.3), then turbine shaft power (
), is:


Figure 3.3 Two pumps driven by a single turbine [12].

If each pump is driven by a separate turbine, figure (3.4), then the

shaft power of each turbine will be equal to the shaft power of its

driven pump, assuming no power consumers onboard the vehicle such

as electric generators and hydraulic pumps actuators. In such a case,
the turbine shaft power can be expressed by equation 3.31 below:


Figure 3.4 Each pump is driven by a separate turbine

On the bases of the quantity of power produced, gas turbines are
categorized to different classes.
The gas turbine to be dealt with is categorized as a micro gas turbine.
Micro gas turbines utilize technology already developed which agrees
with the strategy of the research. Radial-inflow is a widely used design
in micro turbines and specifically the mixed-flow type. The greatest
advantage of radial-inflow design is that the power produced by a
single stage is equivalent to that of two or more stages of the axialflow design [8]. It is worth mentioning that one of its common
applications is that it is used to power helicopters.
As any gas turbine, the overall performance of a radial-inflow gas

turbine depends upon the following three variables:

The available energy content per kilogram of drive gas.
The blade tangential velocity (U).
The number of turbine stages.
The drive gas available energy is always expressed in terms of the gas
theoretical velocity, , sometimes named the spouting velocity. This
quantity of energy is predictable since the following working
conditions are specified:
The working propellant combination and their mixture ratio.
The engine cycle which may indicate the turbine pressure ratio.
The spouting velocity is expressed in terms of the combustion
parameters of the drive gas and the working pressure ratio as:
(subscript 1 indicates the entrance of turbine )
Combustion parameters of the gas generator can be deduced from gas
generator analysis which will follow in section 3.6 of this chapter.
Dumping the turbine exhaust overboard or sending it to the nozzle
downstream implies that the turbine discharge pressure is our
selection. So, if the turbine inlet total pressure is , then, the
pressure ratio is quantifiable and conditionally it is such that:

This is made so in order to permit sending the turbine discharge to a


choked nozzle so that a stable turbine performance is insured during

vehicle flight.
If the turbine discharge pressure, (

), is decided, then:

In this manner, the spouting velocity (

) can be estimated.

The blade tangential velocity (U) is an important parameter in turbomachinery in general but when considering gas turbines, it has a
special significance. It directly addresses the material stress as one of
the most important mechanical constraints at the design stage [12].
The maximum centrifugal stress will be expressed in terms of
maximum blade tangential velocity, U. For titanium rotors which are
the prevailing technology nowadays, U varies between 457 to 549 m/s
according to numerous references [8].
The selection of blade diameter is constrained by the blade height-todiameter ratio (around 2.2) [8] and the inertia considerations. Also it is
constrained by the shape uniformity of the turbo-pump. It should not
be greater than three times the pump diameter in the case of a direct
turbine-pump coupling [12].
The blade tangential velocity (U) can be assumed and so can the blade
diameter, both within the mentioned constraints. Consequently, the
turbine rotational speed (N) can be deduced.
Alternatively, for a given rotational speed, the blade tangential
velocity (U) can be deduced by assuming a suitable blade diameter
also within the mentioned constraints.
The turbine velocity ratio

can now be pointed out. It is a useful


quantity in studying the turbine performance. It can be used to make a

preliminary selection of the turbine configuration that best suits the
efficiency requirement. Increasing the velocity ratio will improve the
efficiency but there are the mechanical constraints and also the
selected turbo-pump configuration may become a constraint. If the
resulting efficiency is extremely low, some of the expansion has to
take place in the rotor blades (increasing the degree of reaction) or
even an additional stage can be used.
The experimentally obtained values for this ratio lie between 0.68 and
0.73 for maximum efficiency according to S.M Yahia [2] and also
Courtesy Institution of Mechanical Engineers reported values within
the same range [8]. It is expected that it is difficult to attain this range
in our case due to the relatively high spouting velocity resulting from
the high pressure ratio. It is mentioned that rocket turbines have
velocity ratio always less than 0.4 when the gas generator is the
working cycle [6, 12].
Up to here, the turbine velocity ratio ( ) and consequently the
turbine type, size and rotational speed can all be pointed out but may
not be for the optimum operational conditions.
It should be remembered that the design selection is to be made to
maximize the turbine efficiency and minimize the turbine weight both
within the mentioned constraints.

3.6.2 Optimization scenarios

After a preliminary turbine selection is made, many scenarios are
possible to satisfy the goals of turbine optimization. For example, the

pressure ratio can be maximized to minimize mass flow rate, the

velocity ratio can be maximized to maximize turbine efficiency for a
given speed, the velocity ratio can be maximized to maximize turbine
efficiency for a given blade diameter, etc. Mass flow rate minimization
The gas generator cycle is an open cycle in which a considerable
amount of energy will be lost in sending the exhaust overboard and
this may negatively affect the engine specific impulse. To minimize the
energy lost in the turbine exhaust, the mass flow rate of the turbine
working fluid has to be minimized. According to equation 3.35 below,
this can be achieved by maximizing the turbine pressure ratio {12}:



(concept of turbine overall efficiency) 3.35

is the turbine weight flow rate and

is the specific heat of

turbine working fluid.

The maximum total pressure at turbine inlet


is the

static pressure of the gas generator. The static pressure of the gas
generator is a function of the discharge pressures of the pumps. It is
less than the discharge pressure of, say, the oxidizer pump by a value
such that
is pressure drop due to injection into the gas
generator. The same injection characteristics used for the main

chamber are going to be assumed so that the static pressure of the gas
generator is almost the same as the static pressure of the main
The turbine discharge pressure will be chosen to be slightly greater
than the atmospheric pressure by a quantity just sufficient to have the
nozzle being choked [12, 14].
[ ]
So, the pressure ratio

of equation 3.35 when substituted by the

maximum pressure ratio [ ]

of equation 3.36, the corresponding

weight flow rate of the turbine will be the minimum one for a given
working fluid, turbine shaft power and turbine efficiency.
The net effect of maximizing the pressure ratio is not entirely positive.
Chart of figure 3.5 describes the effect of pressure ratio maximization
on other design parameters.


Figure 3.5 Effect of maximizing the turbine pressure ratio on other design

26 Efficiency maximization

Efficiency can be maximized by maximizing the blade tangential speed
(U) whether by increasing the blade diameter for a given rotational
speed (N) or increasing the rotational speed for a given blade
diameter. Chart of figure (3-6) describes the effect of tangential speed
maximization on other design parameters (for a given rotational speed

Figure 3.6 effect of increasing turbine tip speed for a given constant rotational


Turbine efficiency can further be maximized by increasing the number

of stages after the upper limit of the tangential velocity is reached but
this will increase the weight. Therefore, a tradeoff between weight
and efficiency is also available. For missions of short burning time, the
efficiency can be sacrificed. Turbine inlet temperature maximization
Increasing the turbine inlet temperature can increase the efficiency
through decreasing the turbine weight flow rate but it has negative
effects on other parameters as shown in figure (3-7).

Figure 3.7 effect of raising the turbine inlet temperature on other design

28 The maximum allowable turbine flow rate

The turbo-pump efficiency should be adequate for the engine to meet
its requirements. It seems that there is a maximum allowable turbine
flow rate beyond which the turbo-pump is considered to be infeasible
from a payload standpoint. The maximum allowable turbine weight
flow rate according to NASA criteria [12] is:
The turbine specific impulse is very small compared to the main
chamber specific impulse so that for the purpose of simplification it
can be neglected it in equation 3.36 to read:
The specific impulse is the thrust per weight flow rate of the
propellants. So, the engine specific impulse can be estimated by the
following expression:
is the total weight flow rate through the pumps.

The chamber specific thrust can be estimated by the expression:




The maximum allowable turbine flow rate corresponds to the

minimum allowable turbo-pump efficiency. The turbine weight flow
rate and the turbine efficiency can be related to each other by
equations :


Equation 3.41 assumes that each pump is driven by a separate turbine.

If the two pumps are driven by a single turbine, the equation

Or alternatively,

The maximum allowable turbine weight flow rate of equations (3.37)


or (3.38) when substituted in equations (3.41), (3.42) or (3.43), the

resulting turbine efficiency is the minimum allowable efficiency.

So, up to this point, the minimum allowable turbo-pump efficiency (or

turbine efficiency for a given pump efficiency) can be obtained.

After the turbine is optimized, the obtained turbo-pump efficiency is

going to be compared to the minimum allowable one. If it is found to
be critical, then we have to improve it by increasing the turbine
efficiency. The turbine efficiency can further be improved by adding a
new stage provided that all other means of efficiency improvement
are exhausted and the efficiency has no priority over weight
3.6.3 Turbine stage efficiency
For an inward- flow gas turbine of the pure impulse type with an axial
exit, the stage efficiency can be expressed as follows [8]:



such that

is the nozzle angle at turbine inlet.


Now, a relationship between the pressure ratio and turbine rotational

speed can be established using equations (3.44) and (3.45).


3.7 Combustion parameters of the gas generator

A fuel rich mixture will be used to suppress the combustion
temperature of the gas generator. G. Sutton stated that typical
values of suppressed gas temperature are in the range of ( 900 to
1350 K ) and for practical reasons the turbine inlet temperature is
always kept within the range of (900 to 950 K ), [3].
It can be deduced from the above expression that the range (900 to
1350 K ) is for the combustion environment inside the gas generator
chamber whereas the range (900 to 950 K ) is for the gas approaching
the rotor after being throttled at the fixed nozzles of the turbine.
Assuming a Nitric acid-Kerosene mixture ratio of 0.5 seems to be
reasonable and the corresponding combustion temperature is
expected to be around 940k [3] according to table (2-4). The turbine
rotor inlet temperature will be less than this value since the
combustion gas is going to be expanded at the turbine nozzles
With aid of table (2-4), extrapolation on the combustion chart
[appendix (A)] beyond the plotted curves can show the combustion


3.8 Guarding against thermal failure

As mentioned in points of design strategy, the heat transfer
computation will be simplified. The problem to be dealt with is a
steady state heat transfer problem in which heat will be transferred
firstly across a gaseous film, then across the chamber wall and lastly
across a liquid coolant film in a series manner, figure (3.8).

Figure 3-8: Schematic diagram of heat transfer across the walls of a

combustion chamber.


Assuming a one dimension heat transfer problem, the following three

equations can be used to model the heat flux ( ) for the three cases

The following empirical correlations can be used to predict some

unknown parameters of the above equations:
Where Reynolds number is calculated with the diameter of the


represent Prandtl and Reynolds numbers

within the coolant whereas

represents Prandtl number for


conditions near the wall.

The mathematical expressions for the dimensionless numbers involved
in equations (3.50) and (3.51) are as follows:
(Nusselt number)
(Prandtl number)
(Reynolds number)
It can be shown that D in this case is twice the thickness separating the
outer and the inner wall of the chamber.
Having data about the inlet and outlet temperatures
the coolant and its viscosity, the heat flow rate
absorbed by the
coolant can be calculated. The coolant inlet temperature is expected
to be slightly greater than the ambient temperature say by 5C,
whereas the coolant outlet temperature will be assumed to be less
than its boiling temperature say by 10% to avoid abrupt pressure
elevation inside the pumping line.
Since the engine dimensions are known, the surface heat flux can be
estimated. The total surface area ( ) of the nozzle and chamber
across which heat is transferred can be calculated from the relation
The above empirical correlations for estimating the gas film coefficient

and coolant film coefficient are samples of a wide variety of such

correlations suggested by specialists. Unfortunately the results
obtained by those empirical correlations do not agree with each other
or with the results obtained experimentally as stated by Huzel and
Huang [14] (of NASA) who also decided that the complete analysis of
the chamber cooling system is a specialized field due to the complex
interrelations of the chamber design. Therefore, this issue will be
skipped by now and assigned to other researchers or will be
considered in separate papers in the future.