Continuous Detonation Rocket and Air Breathing Engines

Period of Performance: 02/17/2009 - 10/30/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Systima Technologies, Inc.
10809 120th Avenue Northeast
Kirkland, WA 98033
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


Proposal will develop and study feasibility of Continuous Detonation Rocket Engine (CDRE) systems for rocket and combined cycle engines. Systima Technologies, Inc., Geminus Technology Development, LLC and the University of Washington, Fluids and Propulsion Labs have detonation engine expertise and propose to develop a working CDRE computational model, design demonstration CDRE, and feasibility analysis of CDRE. This effort has full support of Pratt & Whitney s active continuous detonation experience. Detonation engines should exhibit higher levels of performance with more efficient thermodynamic properties over conventional constant-pressure combustion systems. Study of unsteady combustion systems is key to addressing continued interest in advanced engines such as Rocket Based Combined Cycle (RBCC), Turbine Based Combined Cycle (TBCC) and Single Stage To Orbit (SSTO). This proposal is instrumental to advance this technology and assess potential advantages. Under similar conditions, detonation is more efficient combustion process over deflagration. This is evidenced by lower increases in entropy during detonation and its thermodynamic advantage. The challenge is applying detonation into propulsion. CDRE s advantages over conventional detonation engines are simplicity and performance. The Systima-Geminus-University of Washington-Pratt & Whitney team proposes computational modeling, feasibility analysis, and an experimentation in parallel to advance CDRE technology and evaluate its potential.