The propulsion team has developed a comprehensive engine modeling code to most efficiently design hybrid engines. The code uses a time stepping algorithm to determine mass flow rates, pressures, temperatures, and thrust curves for every iteration from engine start to un-choking or fuel depletion. Currently, the team is in the process of verifying the code accuracy with hot fire tests. Further work will be done to incorporate complex grain geometries as well as account for heat transfer throughout the fuel grain. Below are some of the inputs/outputs of the code.
A major problem with modern hybrids is low regression rates. To address this issue, the propulsion team is conducting analysis on swirl injection techniques and will be verifying designs in static engine tests. Results will be compared to Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations conducted to determine a way to predict the effects of swirl injection in actual combustion processes.
The team is currently working toward experimentation with fuel grains produced through additive manufacturing. This process would allow for rapid creation of complex fuel grains that could not otherwise be created. Certain plastics such as Nylon 6, High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) are already being produced by the team and its partners. Avenues are being explored to print rubbers such as Hydroxyl-Terminated Polybutadiene (HTPB) or waxes such as Paraffin.
Engine tests are conducted on all engines constructed by the team. Tests range from hydrostatic system tests to cold flow to hot fire static engine tests. Data for each of these types of testing are recorded and used to validate prediction models as well as to aid in design iterating. Combustion analysis such as oxidizer/fuel grain combination and regression rate data is an important aspect of testing done by the team.
Filament winding is a complex and delicate process that is not widely available to student teams. Even when some student teams have access to filament winding machinery, they may not fully utilize it due to inexperience and lack of guidance and resources. We seek out to use our successes and failures to construct strong documentation on the filament winding process and its application to rocket structure.
Vacuum assisted resin transfer is a process that uses low-viscosity resins and vacuum bagging to get a very deep-penetrating bond. The process is not well documented and we will be using our considerable resources and faculty expertise to help refine and document the process.
SRT does all of its own filament winding and has wrapped body tubes up to 6.5" in diameter
Many parachute design resources come from declassified military resources and student led research projects. We seek simply to add our own findings to the data-pool in a very digestible form.
Using a simplified dynamic model in MATLAB®, vehicle static stability margin is optimized using safety considerations at launch rail exit. Additionally, a 6 degree-of-freedom flight simulation code is developed, using robust aerodynamic and atmospheric models.
A collection of meshing, simulation, and post-processing procedures suitable for the aerodynamic analysis of sounding rockets, using the commercially available CFD package STAR-CCM+® (a product of CD-Adapco).
Challenges associated with launching hybrid research motors includes controlling the fill and launch process while monitoring critical data, all while maintaining a safe distance. The electronics team is designing and building a wireless launch relay system capable of tackling this challenge. The system, operated from a distance in excess of 2500 feet, will be capable of allowing launch technicians to safely control valves, disconnect mechanisms, and more while reliably displaying live pressure, temperature and oxidizer weight data.
To enable the wireless capabilities for the control and DAQ system, and to gain valuable experience and knowledge, the electronics team is designing and constructing low-cost Yagi radio antennas from scratch. To maximize efficiency and range, precise geometric construction techniques are under careful consideration, and extensive testing is planned/underway so as to ensure the reliability of the wireless system.