General, Research, Technology

How the most advanced rocket engine works

The space industry is as conservative as possible. This applies not only to Roscosmos, but also to the space programs of other countries. Only Elon Musk with his SpaceX tried to show that everything can be done in dude and he did it, but the costumes and design of ships in the style of the Interstellar movie are more likely an exception. In any case, this is more of an outer shell. Inside the rocket itself, the same principles lie as in other similar devices. Most importantly, this is nothing fundamentally new and everything was already invented by Soviet and American scientists decades ago. It has long been invented and technology such as engines, which are now considered new and promising.

Launching a rocket into space is not an easy task. But scientists have found a way to make it easier.

How the rocket engine works

The work of any modern rocket enginebased on jet thrust, which is created by the combustion of a large amount of fuel. If you are not limited only to space rockets, but also talk about weapons, then the engines are divided into several types depending on the fuel used. I talked about this in detail in a separate article, and now it’s not worth delving into it.

If you describe the operation of a rocket engine simplelanguage, we can say that when the fuel burns out, it creates a constant thrust due to the jet stream. This can be compared to a deflating ball that flies away when released. Only in rockets is pressure created differently and power is “slightly” higher.

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Disadvantages of rocket engines

Conservative people who work inmissile industry, explainable. They create a sophisticated technical tool that tames the energy of extremely unstable fuel. In this mode of operation, the slightest change can lead to disaster. Therefore, it’s easier not to change anything. There are even sayings in the spirit of "let the car run quietly."

If such power works, maybe the truth should not interfere with it?

This approach leads to the fact that noThere have been no revolutions in recent decades. Fuel changed slightly, engines changed slightly, but there were no fundamental changes. Nevertheless, the efficiency of the rocket engine is tens and hundreds of times lower than it could be. This does not mean that a rocket can fly faster or lift a hundred times more cargo. Materials simply can not withstand such a craving.

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Instead, you can simply reduce the supply at times.fuel and take extra payload. So launches will become much cheaper and saving on SpaceX pull-down modules will seem like “match-saving”.

The main disadvantage of modern technologyis that the fuel burns out gradually. Under normal conditions, the rate of fuel combustion is approximately 10-15 meters per second. This is called slow combustion, since it is subsonic. There is even a term - deflagration. This is what it is called ordinary ignition of the fuel when it simply flares up.

When it burns like that, it’s deflagration.

There is another way of burning fuel, whichcalled detonation. With such ignition, an explosion occurs rather than a gradual combustion. In this case, the fuel burns faster, but the efficiency of such combustion is several orders of magnitude higher, and the ignition rate exceeds the speed of sound.

Deflagration rate a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen is 10 m / s, and the detonation velocity of the same fuel is 2700 m / s. The difference is more than tangible

Engine with constant rotating explosions

The technology of such an engine was described back in60s of the last century. It should set the apparatus in motion through a series of constant small explosions of the mixture. These explosions cannot be generated by a single source. In order to have a lot of them, the sources are arranged in a circle, and the frequency of successive explosions is very high and they go in a circle. As a result, due to this, a very high traction uniformity is achieved.

This is how an engine with rotating explosions works.

Any engine must pass many tests before use.

If everything is so good and the technology is so effective, then why hasn’t it been used since the 60s, when it was first offered? As usual, there are several reasons.

One of these reasons is underestimation.technologies. It is not always immediately clear how much it is worth striving for the implementation of something, and what it will yield. Another reason is the difficulty in supplying fuel.

The design of the described engine looks something like this.

In order to maintain precisely the detonation mode, it is necessary to supply fuel strictly at a certain moment. But given that such explosions occur once every split second, it is extremely difficult to do.

If you fail to provide fuelstrictly at the right time, that is, several thousand times per second, the detonation process will turn into defloration and the combustion efficiency will be even lower than that of a classic engine.

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Now this problem has been partially solved, and scientists are alreadybegan to test similar engines. When they bring their research to the end, we will get an engine that will be a real breakthrough, and then it will be much cheaper to fly into space. Not even because of savings on the fact that less fuel burns, but because of the fact that with the same thrust, tons of additional cargo can be taken into orbit. Thanks to this, the output of each kilogram will be much cheaper.