Date of Award
MS in Aerospace Engineering
Cold-flow tests were performed using a simulated Air Augmented Rocket (AAR) operating as a mixer-ejector in order to investigate the effects of varied primary nozzle lip thickness on mixing and entrainment. The simulated primary rocket ejector was supplied with nitrogen at a maximum chamber stagnation pressure of 1712 psi, and maximum flow rate of 1.67 lbm/s. Secondary air was entrained from a plenum, producing pressures as low as 6.8 psi and yielding maximum stagnation pressure ratios as high as 160. The primary ejector nozzles each had an area ratio of approximately 20, yielding average primary exit Mach numbers between 4.34 and 4.57. The primary flow was ejected into an 18.75 inch-long mixing duct with a rectangular cross-sectional area of 2.10 in2. The secondary flow was entrained into the mixing duct through a total cross section of 0.94 in2. Two mixing duct configurations were used, one with plexiglass upper and lower surfaces for flow visualization and one with pressure ports along the lower surface for primary plume measurements.
Shadowgraph images were used to characterize the mixing duct flow field, while pressure and temperature instrumentation allowed for calculation of various ejector performance characteristics. Experimentally-calculated performance characteristics were compared to inviscid theoretical predictions. Varying degrees of flow field asymmetry were observed with each nozzle. Test repeatability was found to be excellent for all nozzles. Several distinct phenomena were observed in both the primary plume and secondary streams.
The duration of secondary flow choking was found to be inversely proportional to nozzle lip thickness, due to the primary plume being physically closer to the secondary flow with a thinner nozzle lip. This indicated that the ejector’s ability to choke the secondary flow is primarily an inviscid phenomenon.
Secondary flow blockage was demonstrated in two consecutive tests using the thickest nozzle lip. Only the left secondary duct became blocked in each case. Blockage was only demonstrated in the centerline pressure configuration, so no visual evidence was able to support the blocked flow theory.
At every pressure ratio, entrainment ratio was shown to increase with nozzle lip thickness. The original conical nozzle produced the largest level of entrainment, indicating that the angle of primary flow impingement was the largest contributing factor to secondary entrainment. The increase in efficiency resulting from a bell-mouth nozzle was less than the increase in entrainment efficiency of a conical nozzle, indicating that the conical design was more efficient overall for air augmented rocket applications.