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Catalytic N2O Decomposition for Piloted Scramjet Ignition

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8650-19-C-2935
Agency Tracking Number: F083-121-1852
Amount: $1,500,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF083-121
Solicitation Number: 08.3
Solicitation Year: 2008
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-06-20
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-06-20
Small Business Information
17301 W. Colfax Avenue #160
Golden, CO 80401
United States
DUNS: 196231166
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 David Wickham
 (720) 352-7161
Business Contact
 Todd Leeson
Phone: (303) 881-7992
Research Institution

Achieving hypersonic flight with air breathing vehicles using logistics fuels is a demanding task. A significant challenge in the development of single use and reusable systems alike is ignition of the scramjet engine at low Mach numbers. Unfortunately, current ignition systems do not provide reliable performance at low Mach number. Therefore, there is a strong need for a significant ignition capability enhancement. One approach that has tremendous potential is based on catalytically decomposing a low flow of nitrous oxide (N2O) into a hot mixture of oxygen (O2) and nitrogen (N2). When jet fuel is combined with this flow in a pilot torch, the fuel auto ignites very rapidly, creating a high energy ignition source for the main combustor. In previous work Reaction Systems used the pilot ignition torch to ignite scramjet ground test combustor at a nominal flight condition of Mach 4.75. Although the torch was effective at this condition, further improvements are needed for it work well at lower Mach numbers. Reaction Systems has identified an approach to make the torch more effective and the overall objective of this project is to demonstrate that the improved torch can ignite a scramjet at lower Mach numbers.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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