High Performance Cooling Methods for Liquid Rocket Engines
ABSTRACT: To meet the goals for future generation Air Force LOX/Hydrocarbon booster engines, improvements must be made in performance, operability, reusability, reliability, and cost. To date, operational LOX/hydrocarbon engines have used the fuel as the thrust chamber assembly (TCA) regenerative coolant, and have used fuel film cooling (FFC) as the TCA hot gas wall thermal barrier. The present hydrocarbon fuels show increasing coking behavior at high chamber pressures (Pc) and heat loads and have forced the development of highly refined propellants e.g. RP-2. An alternate path to the fuel cooling road-block is proposed by incorporating LOX regenerative cooling and oxidizer film cooling (OFC). This combination provides greater robustness and safety, and completely de-couples fuel characteristics from the thermally stresses components. Additionally, this cooling method enables the use of military/aviation grade kerosene. BENEFIT: The development of this technology will enable the full-scale development of a high Pc LOX/HC engine to meet the requirements of future military and commercial spacelift systems. The technology is applicable to Air Force Reusable Booster System program and can be adopted to commercial or government RLV and expendable launch vehicles.
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