The Propulsion team is working with the aim of providing a specially developed engine for the experimental rockets. Students from numerous disciplines are introduced to the complex rocket engine system and develop technical solutions in subsystems such as injection, ignition, cooling or integration. In this area, close cooperation is maintained with the Institute of Gas Turbines, Aerospace Propulsion (GLR) at the TU Darmstadt. Currently, bachelor/master theses as well as project work on the engine or on a designated test bed are being carried out.
About the engine:
The engine will use the liquid fuels ethanol and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and is designed to deliver a thrust of 2000 N. The oxidizer will be cooled to -70°C to optimize the performance of the rocket. The propellants are transported into the combustion chamber by an appropriate internal pressure in the tanks, making the development of complex turbo pumps unnecessary. In the current iteration, an exhaust gas velocity of 2200 m/s (corresponding to a specific impulse of 225s) at a fuel mass flow of about 1Kg/s is to be achieved.
The current work is focused on the design of an extended ignition unit for the test bench iteration of the engine. This is operated with gaseous hydrogen and oxygen. A cooling system for the flame tube is used, which is to be qualified in the test campaign, as well as the injection element for further development on the engine.
Furthermore, work is being carried out to set up a test stand for research and test operation, as well as for simulation and flow optimization of the injection system, combustion chamber and nozzle. In addition, conceptual work and simulations for cooling the entire engine are being carried out.
Currently, a toolbox implemented in Python is being developed, which combines the calculation bases of many individual subsystems and enables the optimization of the entire engine system. At the same time, the toolbox serves as a “library” for previously acquired knowledge of the team and should also make it easier for new members to get started
Further subsystem test campaigns are planned, such as a cold-flow injector test carrier and an oxidizer cooling process based on dry ice.
Once the individual systems are sufficiently qualified, the combustion process will be investigated and optimized in an initial test phase of the entire engine. Finally, the further development to flight hardware, which places high demands on weight and durability, is planned.