The Effect of Arcjet Preheating on the Sooting Characteristics of Methane

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: N/A
Agency Tracking Number: 20047
Amount: $55,195.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 1993
Solitcitation Year: N/A
Solitcitation Topic Code: N/A
Solitcitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Spectra-metrics Corp
3700 Thanksgiving Tower, 37, Elm Street, Dallas, TX, 75201
Duns: N/A
Hubzone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Robert J. Cattolica, Phd
 (510) 254-4239
Business Contact
Phone: () -
Research Institution
The potential for improvement in the performance of electric rocket motors (arcjets) using methane as a propellant has been limited by sooting or choking and the resulting fouling of the rocket. If its sooting characteristics can be mitigated by rocket motor design or operational conditions, then its use as a propellant gas can be realized. For orbital transfer, we propose to investigate whether operational conditions, particularly preheating of the electric rocket motor, can be used to prevent fouling. For preheating purposes, hydrogen will be used to bring a 14 kw arcjet up to operational temperature. Methane will be introduced as the propellant gas by going through a series of H2/CH4 mixture compositions for 100-percent hydrogen to 100-percent methane. Sooting characteristics will be monitored by periodic disassembly and inspection of the arcjet motor internal surfaces. During actual operational testing, a spectrograph with an imaged-intensified diode array detector will be used to measure the emission spectra from the rocket motor exhaust plume. To monitor the effect of the appearance of soot, the exhaust plume emission spectrum will be studied to determine any spectral changes due to black body emission from soot.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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