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Modeling and testing of pressure-gain combustion using Rotating Detonation Engines

There is growing interest in the propulsion and power generation community in the feasibility of integrating pressure gain combustors into future propulsion systems to provide significant increases in efficiency. Thermodynamic analysis of an ideal cycle using pulse or rotating detonation combustion suggests a potential thermal efficiency gain of up to 15% over the conventional Brayton cycle. The performance boost for a real Pulse or Rotating Detonation Combustion (PDC/RDC) cycle is highly sensitive to the component efficiencies. This presents a significant integration challenge requiring modeling, testing and optimizing the performance of turbines driven by detonation flows. The objectives of the project are to accelerate the development of Pulse Detonation (PDC) Technology at TU Berlin and to establish new capability in the area of Rotating Detonation. The Rotating Detonation Wave Combustor (RDC) relies on rotating detonation waves to increase the pressure upstream of the power turbine of a gas turbine. The higher frequencies associated with the spinwise detonation waves leads to a more continuous operation and thus to less flow unsteadiness which would be an advantage for gas turbine integration. The profound knowledge of Ephraim Gutmark on PDCs will be extremely beneficial for the development of the new RDC technology. There are a number of new challenges like understanding the fundamental physics of the involved fluid dynamics, acoustics and combustion phenomena as well on solving the turbine integration problem. A Rotating Detonation Combustor will be built and operated in the new TU Berlin Energy Lab. It will be used to study the detonation modes and flow physics and ultimately integarted into the turbine. Dr. Gutmark¹s team has 12 years experience in PDC/RDC research that together with TU Berlin existing capabilities will enable significant advances in pressure gain combustion and will help educating graduate students in this important emerging technology.

Prof. Ephraim Gutmark will establish a research team in Berlin consisting of 1 PhD student and a post-doc fellow. In addition, faculty and graduate students visiting from the University of Cincinnati will supplement this basic team. The following plan is building on the ongoing research activities already existing at TUB under the SFB 1029 and the ERC projects. While Dr. Gutmark¹s experience in Pulse Detonation Combustion (PDC) technology and in thermoacoustic instability will help in accelerating progress of the existing activities, his main effort will be concentrated in developing the new technology of Rotating Detonation Combustion (RDC) at TUB, an area that is not covered by the SFB or ERC projects.


Ephraim Gutmark will organize a workshop on constant volume combustion and ist integration into gas turbines towards. This will be followed by a spring school reduction. A second workshop is then planned highlighting the ongoing research and reinforcing collaboration with Berlin-based scholars. Gutmark will also teach a course on detonation theory, pressure gain combustion and integration with gas turbine system.

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