High Efficiency Rotating Detonation Combustor for Augmentors

Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI), in collaboration with University of Michigan, has been awarded a contract from the Naval Air Warfare Center to design, develop, and demonstrate a rotating detonation combustor (RDC) for gas turbine engine augmentors.

This program advances a novel combustor design based on a unique geometric approach that addresses the stability and efficiency issues that have prevented RDCs from reaching performance metrics predicted by theory. Flow uniformity is improved in the combustor and the combustor exit by decreasing pressure fluctuations and discontinuities. The integrated combustor and combustor exit geometry allows this innovation to be used for RDC-based pilot detonation for augmentors or for a full detonation RDC-based augmentor. PSI has previously demonstrated the performance benefits of this technology in ground-based rotating detonation rocket engine firings up to 200 lbf of thrust.

PSI’s rotating detonation combustor (RDC) technology allows for both small and large engine sizes to be realized. This enables RDCs to be used in augmentors for aircraft engines as well as weapons applications. The technology can also be adopted for ramjet engines and rockets, both of which can achieve an increase in specific impulse and range in comparison to the baseline system. The use of this technology for rocket propulsion systems creates a transition path for commercial markets, while applications in ramjet and gas turbine engine systems are being pursued in defense markets.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Jeffrey Wegener
Group Leader, Propulsion and Energetics

Physical Sciences Inc.
Telephone: (978) 689-0003