Rotating detonation facility development (~Jan 2014)

This is a preliminary mapping of the operating range of a hydrogen-air rotating detonation engine. A detonation is a supersonic mode of combustion consisting of a shock wave coupled to a reaction zone. In the present combustor, the detonation front propagates azimuthally through an annulus at speeds of ~1-2 km/s. At these wave speeds, the frequency of rotation is ~2-4 kHz, which manifests as a high-pitch "screaming" emanating from the combustor. When detonation is actively established, the heat release occurs within a small region inside the combustor. If the detonation fails, combustion typically manifests as a large turbulent flame brush, anchored to the combustor exit.
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