Experimental Studies of Injector Array Configurations for Circular Scramjet Combustors

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Virginia Tech


A flush-wall injector model and a strut injector model representative of state of the art scramjet engine combustion chambers were experimentally studied in a cold-flow (non-combusting) environment to determine their fuel-air mixing behavior under different operating conditions. The experiments were run at nominal freestream Mach numbers of 2 and 4, which simulates combustor conditions for nominal flight Mach numbers of 5 and 10. The flush-wall injector model consists of sixteen inclined, round, sonic injectors distributed around the wall of a circular duct. The strut injector model has sixteen inclined, round, sonic injectors distributed across four struts within a circular duct. The struts are slender, inclined at a low angle to minimize drag, and have two injectors on each side. The experiments investigated the effects of injectant molecular weight, freestream Mach number, and jet-to-freestream momentum flux ratio on the fuel-air mixing process. Helium, methane, and air injectants were studied to vary the injectant molecular weight over the range of 4-29. All of these experiments were performed to support the needs of an integrated experimental and computational research program, which has the goal of upgrading the turbulence models that are used for Computational Fluid Dynamics predictions of the flow inside a scramjet combustor. The primary goals of this study were to use injector models that represent state of the art scramjet engine combustion chambers to provide validation data to support the development of turbulence model upgrades and to add to the sparse database of mixing results in such configurations. The main experimental results showed that higher molecular weight injectants had approximately the same amount of penetration in the far field as lower molecular weight injectants at the same jet-to-freestream momentum flux ratio. Higher molecular weight injectants also demonstrated a mixing rate that was the same as or slower than lower molecular weight injectants depending on the flow conditions. A comparison of the experimental results for the two different injector models revealed that the flush-wall injector mixed significantly faster than the strut injector in all of the experimental cases.



Fuel Injection, Mixing, Hypersonic Propulsion, Supersonic Combustion, Scramjet