Development of an iterative method for liquid-propellant combustion chamber instability analysis

Cengiz, Kenan
Controlling unsteady combustion induced gas flow fluctuations and the resultant motor vibrations is a very significant step in rocket motor design. It occurs when the unsteady heat release due to combustion happens to feed the acoustic oscillations of the closed duct forming a feed-back system. The resultant vibrations concerned may even lead to total failure of the rocket system unless analysed and tested thoroughly. This thesis aims developing a linear numerical analysis method for the growth rate of instabilities and possible mode shape of a liquid-propelled chamber geometry. In particular, A 3-D Helmholtz code, utilizing Culicks spatial averaging linear iterative method, is developed to find the form of deformed mode shapes iteratively to obtain possible effects of heat source and impedance boundary conditions. The natural mode shape phase is solved through finite volume discretization and the open-source eigenvalue extractor, ARPACK, and its parallel implementation PARPACK. The iterative method is particularly used for analyzing the geometries with complex shapes and essentially for disturbances of small magnitudes to natural mode shapes. The developed tools are tested via two simple cases, a duct with inactive flame and a Rijke tube, used as validation cases for the code particularly with only boundary contribution and heat contribution respectively. A sample 2-D and 3-D liquid-propelled combustion chamber is also analysed with heat sources. After comparing with the expected values, it is eventually proved that the method should be only used for determining the modes instability analysis, as to whether it keeps vibrating or decays. The methodology described can be used as a preliminary design tool for the design of liquid-propellant rocket engine combustors, rapidly revealing only the onset of instabilities.


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Citation Formats
K. Cengiz, “Development of an iterative method for liquid-propellant combustion chamber instability analysis,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2010.