Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Dianne DeTurris


Experiments were conducted on the Cal Poly air augmented rocket (AAR) in order to characterize two-dimensional flowfield phenomenon occurring in the mixing duct. The testing utilized a direct connect system where high pressure nitrogen is fed into the combustion chamber, to form a primary flow. The high pressure nitrogen is then expanded through a nozzle, with an area ratio of 22 and an exit area of 0.75 in2, up to Mach 4.3. Secondary air is entrained from a plenum chamber which is used to create a lower stagnation pressure for the secondary flow. The two flows mix in a duct that has a cross sectional area of 2.06 in2. The maximum pressure ratio, the ratio of primary to secondary stagnation pressure, achieved during testing was 132. The stagnation pressures of the primary and secondary flows are transient throughout the test. The quasi-steady portion of each run increased with increasing pressure ratio. Pressure and temperature measurements were collected from ten test runs.

Shadowgraph images were taken of the mixing duct during testing in order to image the interactions between the primary and secondary flows. The images show an oblique shock forming in the primary flow. The angle of the shock matches theoretical predictions to within 8.41%. The oblique shock begins at a distance of 1.5 inches downstream of nozzle exit when the AAR is operating in the Fabri choked condition. The images also show the mixing region which forms between the primary and secondary flows. The mixing region represents as much as 25% of the cross-sectional area of the flow field in the mixing duct two inches downstream of the nozzle exit.

An analysis of the secondary Mach number in the mixing duct shows that Fabri choking is occurring during testing. The secondary Mach number decreases as pressure ratio increases, in the Fabri choked condition. The transition to Fabri choking occurs at a pressure ratio of 100, suggesting that this is the pressure ratio of the saturated case.

The shape of the primary plume was compared to results from a 2-D simulation developed to predict the flow field inside the Cal Poly AAR. Although, the simulation is unable to predict the entire flowfield, modifications made it able to predict the velocity of the secondary, entrained, flow within 3.7%. The modified simulation also predicts the that the primary plume will have expanded 98% of its total distance from the centerline of the mixing duct 1.7 inches downstream of the primary nozzle exit.

Pressure data taken along the wall of the mixing duct was used to identify the location of Fabri choking in the mixing duct. Tests showed that Fabri choking is occurring between 1 inch and 2.5 inches downstream of the nozzle exit. The location of Fabri choking moves farther downstream of the nozzle as pressure ratio increases.