HYPERSONIC AIR-BREATHING PROPULSION SYSTEMS: RAMJET AND SCRAMJET
HUSEIN BHINDERWALA K. J. SOMAIYA COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING, MUMBAI UNIVERSITY email@example.com ABSTRACT This paper is intended to offer the reader an some other propulsion system must be used to accelerate the
introduction to the study of ramjet and scramjet propulsion, including careful definitions of terms and a unified description of the processes and characteristics of the ramjet and scramjet engine. This paper reviews the major knowledge base that has been accumulated through years of theoretical and experimental research on topics relevant to ramjet and scramjet propulsion. Later in the paper, various innovative technological ideas or proposals have been put forth that need great extent of research and experimentation to follow up on. Lastly, the author has performed a series of calculations using NASA¶s EngineSim software on a predetermined ramjet model and citations of data from various wind tunnel tests from references. I. INTRODUCTION Thrust is the force which moves any aircraft through the air. Thrust is generated by the propulsion system of the aircraft. Different propulsion systems develop thrust in different ways, but all thrust is generated through some application of Newton's third law of motion. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In any propulsion system, a working fluid is accelerated by the system and the reaction to this acceleration produces a force on the system. A general derivation of the thrust equation shows that the amount of thrust generated depends on the mass flow through the engine and the exit velocity of the gas. In the early 1900's some of the original ideas concerning ramjet propulsion were first developed in Europe. Thrust is produced by passing the hot exhaust from the combustion of a fuel through a nozzle. The nozzle accelerates the flow, and the reaction to this acceleration produces thrust. To maintain the flow through the nozzle, the combustion must occur at a pressure that is higher than the pressure at the nozzle exit. In a ramjet, the high pressure is produced by "ramming" external air into the combustor using the forward speed of the vehicle. The external air that is brought into the propulsion system becomes the working fluid, much like a turbojet engine. In a turbojet engine, the high pressure in the combustor is generated by a piece of machinery called a compressor. But there are no compressors in a ramjet. Therefore, ramjets are lighter and simpler than a turbojet. Ramjets produce thrust only when the vehicle is already moving; ramjets cannot produce thrust when the engine is stationary or static. Since a ramjet cannot produce static thrust, vehicle to a speed where the ramjet begins to produce thrust. The higher the speed of the vehicle, the better a ramjet works until aerodynamic losses become a dominant factor. The combustion that produces thrust in the ramjet occurs at a subsonic speed in the combustor. For a vehicle travelling supersonically, the air entering the engine must be slowed to subsonic speeds by the aircraft inlet. Shock waves present in the inlet cause performance losses for the propulsion system. Above Mach 5, ramjet propulsion becomes very inefficient. The new supersonic combustion ramjet, or scramjet, solves this problem by performing the combustion supersonically in the burner.
Fig1. Supersonic ramjet BrahMos missiles
Shown above are pictures of an BrahMos missile using ramjet technology for propulsion. A rocket is used to bring the ramjet up to speed before it produces thrust. Because the ramjet uses external air for combustion, it is a more efficient propulsion system for flight within the atmosphere than a rocket, which must carry all of its oxygen. Ramjets are ideally suited for very high speed flight within the atmosphere. II. RAMJET/SCRAMJET THRUST A ramjet engine provides a simple, light propulsion system for high speed flight. Likewise, the supersonic combustion ramjet, or scramjet, provides high thrust and low weight for hypersonic flight speeds. Unlike a turbojet engine, ramjets and scramjets have no moving parts, only an inlet, a combustor that consists of a fuel injector and a flame holder, and a nozzle. How do ramjets and scramjets work?
When mounted on a high speed aircraft, large amounts of III. RAMJET PARTS surrounding air are continuously brought into the engine inlet because of the forward motion of the aircraft. The air is slowed For high supersonic or hypersonic flight, the going through the inlet, and the dynamic pressure due to ideal propulsion system is a ramjet. A ramjet uses the forward velocity is converted into higher static pressure. At the exit of speed of the aircraft to compress the incoming air and, the inlet, the air is at a much higher pressure than free stream. therefore, has fewer moving parts than a turbine engine. While the free stream velocity may be either subsonic or supersonic, the flow exiting the inlet of a ramjet is always subsonic. The flow exiting a scramjet inlet is supersonic and has fewer shock losses than a ramjet inlet at the same vehicle velocity. In the burner, a small amount of fuel is combined with the air and ignited. In a typical engine, 100 pounds of air/sec. is combined with only 2 pounds of fuel/sec. Most of the hot exhaust has come from the surrounding air. Flame holders in the burner localize the combustion process. Burning occurs subsonically in the ramjet and supersonically in the scramjet. Leaving the burner, the hot exhaust passes through a nozzle, which is shaped to accelerate the flow. Because the exit velocity is greater than the free stream velocity, thrust is created as described by the general thrust equation (Eq. 1). For ramjet and scramjet engines, the exit mass flow is nearly equal Fig. 3 Computer Drawing of a typical ramjet engine to the free stream mass flow, since very little fuel is added to the stream. In this figure3 we show a computer drawing of a typical ramjet engine. In the computer drawing, we have cut out a portion of the engine to have a look inside. At the front of the engine, to the left, is the inlet, which brings outside air into the engine. At the exit of the inlet, the air is at a much higher pressure than free stream conditions. Fuel is injected and mixed for combustion just downstream of the inlet. The resulting flame is stabilized in the engine by the red flame holder ring. This part is very similar to an afterburner in a fighter jet engine. The hot exhaust then passes through the nozzle, which is shaped to accelerate the flow and produce thrust.
Fig.2 Schematic representation of a Ramjet engine
The thrust equation for ramjets and scramjets contain three terms: gross thrust, ram drag, and a pressure correction. If the free stream conditions are denoted by a "0" subscript and the exit conditions by an "e" subscript, then: Thrust=F= 1. Eq. 1
Aerodynamicists often refer to the first term (exit mass flow rate times exit velocity) as the gross thrust, since this term is largely associated with conditions in the nozzle. The second term (free stream mass flow rate times free stream velocity) is called the ram drag. This term can be quite large for scramjet engines. For ramjets and scramjets, the nozzle exit velocity is supersonic, and the exit pressure depends on the area ratio between the throat of the nozzle and the exit of the nozzle. Pressure correction is usually small compared to the first term of the thrust equation. But for completeness, this term is usually included in the gross thrust.
A. INLETS y SUPERSONIC INLETSAn inlet for a supersonic aircraft has a sharp lip. The inlet lip is sharpened to minimize the performance losses from shock waves that occur during supersonic flight. For a supersonic aircraft, the inlet must slow the flow down to subsonic speeds before the air reaches the compressor. Some supersonic inlets use a central cone to shock the flow down to subsonic speeds. Other inlets use flat hinged plates to generate the compression shocks, with the resulting inlet geometry having a rectangular cross section. This variable geometry inlet is used on the F-14 and F-15 fighter aircraft. The inlets of the Mach 3+ SR-71 aircraft are specially designed to allow cruising flight at high speed. The inlets of the SR-71 actually produce thrust during flight. y HYPERSONICINLETS² Inlets for hypersonic aircraft present the ultimate design challenge. For ramjet-powered aircraft, the inlet must bring the high speed external flow down to subsonic conditions in the burner. High stagnation
By convention, a white box with black numbers is an input box and you can change the value of the number. A black box with yellow or red numbers is an output box and the value is B.NOZZLES All gas turbine engines have a nozzle to produce thrust, to computed by the program. conduct the exhaust gases back to the free stream, and to set the mass flow rate through the engine. The nozzle sits The program screen is divided into four main parts: downstream of the power turbine. 1. On the top left side of the screen is a graphic of the engine you are designing or testing. In the Design A nozzle is a relatively simple device, just a specially shaped Mode, the drawing is a schematic, while in Tunnel tube through which hot gases flow. However, the mathematics Test Mode the drawing is an animation. which describes the operation of the nozzle takes some careful 2. On the upper right side of the screen are choice thought. Nozzles come in a variety of shapes and sizes buttons which control the analysis. You can select the depending on the mission of the aircraft. type of analysis, the type of output to be displayed, Simple turbojets, and turboprops, often have a fixed geometry and the units to be used in the calculations. You will convergent nozzle as shown on the left of the always see the overall engine performance displayed figure. Turbofan engines often employ a co-annular nozzle as as thrust, fuel flow, airflow, and computed engine shown at the top left. The core flow exits the centre nozzle weight. while the fan flow exits the annular nozzle. Mixing of the two 3. On the lower right side of the screen are the results of flows provides some thrust enhancement and these nozzles also engine performance calculations. The output can be tend to be quieter than convergent nozzles. Afterburning presented as numerical values of certain parameters, turbojets and turbofans require a variable graphs of engine performance, or as photos of the geometry convergent-divergent - CD nozzle. In this nozzle, the engine parts with descriptions of their purpose. You flow first converges down to the minimum area or throat, then select the type of output displayed by using the choice is expanded through the divergent section to the exit at the button labelled "Output:" on the upper right panel. right. The variable geometry causes these nozzles to be heavier 4. On the lower left side of the screen various input than a fixed geometry nozzle, but variable geometry provides panels are displayed. You can select the input panel efficient engine operation over a wider airflow range than a by clicking on the name or the component in the simple fixed nozzle. graphic at the upper left. Rocket engines also use nozzles to accelerate hot exhaust to produce thrust. Rocket engines usually have a fixed geometry CD nozzle with a much larger divergent section than is required for a gas turbine. Recently, however, engineers have been experimenting with nozzles with rectangular exits. This allows the exhaust flow to be easily deflected, or vectored. Changing the direction of the thrust with the nozzle makes the aircraft much more manoeuvrable. Because the nozzle conducts the hot exhaust back to the free stream, there can be serious interactions between the engine exhaust flow and the airflow around the aircraft. On fighter aircraft, in particular, large drag penalties can occur near the nozzle exits. A typical nozzle-after body configuration is shown in the upper right for an F-15 with experimental maneuvering nozzles. As with the inlet design, the external nozzle configuration is often designed by the airframe and subjected to wind tunnel testing to determine the performance Flight Conditions include the Mach number, airspeed, altitude, pressure, temperature, and throttle and afterburner settings. There are several different combinations of these variables available for input. The pressure and temperature are computed as functions of the altitude by using a Standard Day atmospheric model. Design variables for each engine component can also be varied. The components and variables include the Inlet (pressure recovery), Fan (pressure ratio, efficiency, and bypass ratio), Compressor (CPR, compressor efficiency), Burner (fuel, maximum temperature, efficiency, and pressure ratio), Turbine (turbine efficiency) and Nozzle (maximum temperature, efficiency, A8/A2). As you choose a different component the part of the engine being affected is highlighted in the graphic by changing from its default colour to yellow. Engine Size can be specified by either the frontal area or the diameter. As the
temperatures are present in this speed regime and variable geometry may not be an option for the inlet designer because of possible flow leaks through the hinges. For scramjet-powered aircraft, the heat environment is even worse because the flight Mach number is higher than that for a ramjet-powered aircraft. Scramjet inlets are highly integrated with the fuselage of the aircraft. Thick, hot boundary layers are usually present on the compression surfaces of hypersonic inlets. The flow exiting a scramjet inlet must remain supersonic.
effects on the airframe. The internal nozzle is usually the responsibility of the engine manufacturer. IV. CALCULATIONS DONE ON ENGINESIM SOFTWARE With this software you can investigate how a jet (or turbine) engine produces thrust by interactively changing the values of different engine parameters.
engine size changes, the grid background changes in proportion to the size. The distance between any two grid lines is 1 foot.
Fig 4. Calculations on the EngineSim software
V. FUTURE INNOVATIONS A. BUSSARD RAMJET It is intended to circumvent the problems of rocket economics by collecting fuel as it goes along. Conventional rockets carry all their fuel with them. The vast majority of its weight and size were taken up with fuel. An interstellar rocket, which would have to travel distances measured in light years, would therefore be enormous, and most of the fuel would be used accelerating other fuel. This is simply not practical. Bussard's Solution: The entry on Jets and Rockets explains in detail why jet engines don't work in space. In summary, it is because a jet engine works by accelerating a medium, such as air. In space, of course, there is no such medium. Or is there? Space is not, in fact, completely empty. Even between the stars there is hydrogen gas, at a density of about one or two atoms per cubic centimetre. This is the 'medium' for the Bussard ramjet. As with conventional ramjets, the Bussard ramjet cannot accelerate from a standing start. Some other drive technology must first be used to accelerate the ship to a measureable fraction (say 1%) of lightspeed 1.
When the ship is moving fast enough, it is encountering enough atoms of interstellar hydrogen every second to make it worth collecting them and using them as fuel. The Invisible Scoop Even at these speeds, the hydrogen collector would need to be quite large. Estimates vary, but a typical figure for the diameter is 50,000 kilometres! Obviously, no physical collector this large is practical. Instead, the hydrogen collector would consist of a vast electromagnetic field, generated by superconducting coils on the ship. This field would ionise the hydrogen atoms and magnetically funnel them into the engine intake. There they undergo a fusion reaction, and the exhaust is directed out of the rear. Journeys by Ramscoop The pilot of a Bussard ramjet could conceivably set it to accelerate at a constant 1g. This would be convenient, as it would provide a shipboard environment indistinguishable from Earth. There would be none of the inconveniences of shipboard gravity generated by centrifugal, such as very obvious Coriolis effects, variable gravity from circumference to axis, and having to build the rooms with two 'down' directions, one for when the ship is accelerating and one for when it is coasting with spin. Another advantage of constant 1g acceleration is that it would allow the pilot to make very long journeys. To an observer on Earth, such a ship would take hundreds of thousands of years to
reach the centre of the galaxy. Thanks to relativistic time dilation, however, the pilot would be only 20 years older on arrival. So, for the pilot, the centre of our galaxy is only 20 years away! A Science Fiction Dream Leaving aside the fact that we are not yet able to build fusion engines or sufficiently powerful superconducting coils, the Bussard ramjet sounds at first like an excellent prospect for interstellar propulsion. Unfortunately, there are strong theoretical objections to the principle of the Bussard ramjet. Fusion as generated on Earth requires deuterium, which accounts for only about 0.01% of interstellar hydrogen. Fusion in the Sun uses normal hydrogen, but achieving the conditions necessary for that would be very difficult. An optimistic estimate would be that only 1% of the hydrogen would be actually usable as fuel. So in fact much of the propulsive power would be used up slogging through a soup of useless hydrogen. Also, one of the by-products¶ of the fusion reaction is neutrons. Any crew compartment would need extremely heavy shielding against this radiation, adding to the mass of the ship. Unless these and other serious problems can be addressed, the Bussard ramjet will remain a science fiction concept. Of course, we literally cannot imagine the capabilities of future technology, so the stated objections may eventually seem trivial.
Fig. 5 Artistic rendition of Bussard ramjet
VI. CONCLUSION This technology is still in its nascent stages and further work needs to be done requiring hours of research and experimental work. In the path of the author, he aims at building a model ramjet to demonstrate the workings of the propulsion system of which he has already made detailed drawings which would be presented at the presentation.