A Joint Experimental/Computational Study of Non-Idealities in Practical Rotating Detonation Engines Email Page
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Performer:  University of Michigan Location:  Ann Arbor, Michigan
Project Duration:  10/01/2015 – 09/30/2019 Award Number:  FE0025315
Technology Area:  Advanced Turbines Total Award Value:  $999,999
Key Technology:  Pressure Gain Combustion DOE Share:  $799,999
Performer Share:  $200,000

Notional diagram of operational<br/>rotating detonation engine (RDE).
Notional diagram of operational
rotating detonation engine (RDE).

Project Description

The University of Michigan will research the physics of non-ideal effects in practical rotating detonation engines (RDEs) that impede the realization of theoretical detonation cycle efficiencies and operability. RDEs that use detonation-based compression are considered superior to the external compressor-based Brayton cycle engines because of their ability to use shock-based compression to increase pressure of the fluid in the combustor, which leads to a gain in thermal efficiency (pressure gain). Combined with conventional compressors, such devices promise significantly higher overall efficiencies compared to traditional cycles. RDEs and other similar variants for turbine engine applications have been studied for many decades, and several lab- and medium-scale devices have been built. The main issues that prevent large-scale and practical use of RDEs arise from the non-idealities associated with imperfect mixing and detonation structure. Currently, there are no design guidelines on how to overcome or account for these non-idealities. In this work, the project team will use detailed experimental measurements and computational tools to research the source or cause of such non-idealities from a fundamental physics point of view and link them to RDE performance. The goal of this work is to take a fundamental point of view and use detailed experiments and simulations to understand non-ideal effects and their contribution to loss in pressure gain.

Project Benefits

The University of Michigan will address the objectives of pressure gain combustion research and development by developing a comprehensive understanding of how non-idealities in RDEs affect operability and efficiency. This work has clear implications for the development of gas turbine technologies integrating RDEs into the cycle. The fundamental work performed in this project will directly impact RDE design through physics research, advanced computational models, and detailed validation data that are currently not available. This work provides large eddy simulation models and a suite of validation experiments that can be used for future research. The data as well as the models will be made available to the commercial community, including engine and gas turbine manufacturers, thereby directly impacting emerging technologies.

Presentations, Papers, and Publications

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager Mark C. Freeman: mark.freeman@netl.doe.gov
Technology Manager Richard Dennis: richard.dennis@netl.doe.gov
Principal Investigator Mirko Gamba: mirkog@umich.edu