An experimental study of monopropellant combustion in small volume

Ming Hsun Wu, Yanxing Wang, Richard A. Yetter, Vigor Yang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Combustion of liquid nitromethane in a cylindrical chamber with a volume of 108 mm3 and diameter of 5 mm was experimentally investigated. The meso-scale combustor utilized a vortex combustion concept, which has been demonstrated to be useful for stabilizing combustion of gaseous hydrocarbon air mixtures in small volumes. The monopropellants were injected tangentially from the backend of the cylindrical combustor and the combustion products exited the chamber tangentially at the other end. Stable combustion of nitromethane was not found achievable at atmospheric pressure, although combustion can be self-sustained by enhancing the kinetic rates of the reaction with the addition of a small amount of oxygen (air). Pressurization of the combustor has an equivalent effect as oxygen enrichment on flame stabilization due to the high sensitivity of nitromethane kinetic rates to pressure. Stable combustion in the vortex combustor was achieved at pressures higher than 260 psi, although various hydrocarbon compounds such as CH4, C2H2, and C2H4 are found in the FT-IR spectra of the combustion products at low pressures suggesting incomplete combustion due to insufficient flow residence time. Complete combustion was achieved at chamber pressures above 350 psi. The chemical power input was ∼230W for all the cases investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCollection of Technical Papers - 44th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006
Event44th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting 2006 - Reno, NV, United States
Duration: Jan 9 2006Jan 12 2006

Publication series

NameCollection of Technical Papers - 44th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting


Other44th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting 2006
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityReno, NV

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Aerospace Engineering


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