Heat Exchanger and Reactor for Endothermic Fuels in Hypersonic Propulsion Systems

Period of Performance: 01/01/1995 - 12/31/1995

$600K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Creare, Inc.
16 Great Hollow Road Array
Hanover, NH 03755
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Aircraft which travel at high Mach numbers require a very large internal heat sink to protect the engine and airframe from high heat loads. Endothermic fuels are attractive for hypersonic propulsion systems because they increase the fuel heat sink capacity. We propose to develop a compact and lightweight heat exchanger/reactor in which cooling is provided by the catalyzed decomposition of the endothermic fuel. The innovation is a heat exchanger configuration which enables efficient decomposition of the fuel within a very small volume, resulting in an order of magnitude reduction in the size and a factor of three reduction in weight of the reactor. There are three key advantages to the proposed heat exchanger: small size and weight, increased reliability due to a simplified internal configuration, and low pressure drops for air cooling applications. Preheating of the fuel occurs within the same compact unit. The objectives of Phase I are to prove the feasibility by demonstrating fabrication and sealing techniques and to assess the benefits to hypersonic propulsion systems. In Phase II we will build and demonstrate a prototypical reactor/heat exchanger and perform tests to provide data for design and optimization of hypersonic propulsion systems.