Theoretical Acoustic Absorber Design Approach for LOX/LCH4 Pintle Injector Rocket Engines

Jonathan Candelaria, University of Texas at El Paso


Liquid rocket engines, or LREs, have served a key role in space exploration efforts. One current effort involves the utilization of liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid methane (LCH4) LREs to explore Mars with in-situ resource utilization for propellant production. This on-site production of propellant will allow for greater payload allocation instead of fuel to travel to the Mars surface, and refueling of propellants to travel back to Earth. More useable mass yields a greater benefit to cost ratio. The University of Texas at El Paso’s (UTEP) Center for Space Exploration and Technology Research Center (cSETR) aims to further advance these methane propulsion systems with the development of two liquid methane – liquid oxygen propellant combination rocket engines. ^ The design of rocket engines, specifically liquid rocket engines, is complex in that many variables are present that must be taken into consideration in the design. A problem that occurs in almost every rocket engine development program is combustion instability, or oscillatory combustion. It can result in the destruction of the rocket, subsequent destruction of the vehicle and compromise the mission. These combustion oscillations can vary in frequency from 100 to 20,000 Hz or more, with varying effects, and occur from different coupling phenomena. It is important to understand the effects of combustion instability, its physical manifestations, how to identify the instabilities, and how to mitigate or dampen them. ^ Linear theory methods have been developed to provide a mathematical understanding of the low- to mid-range instabilities. Nonlinear theory is more complex and difficult to analyze mathematically, therefore no general analytical method that yields a solution exists. With limited resources, time, and the advice of our NASA mentors, a data driven experimental approach utilizing quarter wave acoustic dampener cavities was designed. This thesis outlines the methodology behind the design of an acoustic dampening system for a 500 lbf and a 2000 lbf throttleable liquid oxygen liquid methane pintle injector rocket engine. ^

Subject Area

Engineering|Aerospace engineering

Recommended Citation

Candelaria, Jonathan, "Theoretical Acoustic Absorber Design Approach for LOX/LCH4 Pintle Injector Rocket Engines" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10619896.