An Exploratory Study of Ram Accelerator Principles
Final technical rept. Aug 1984-Jan 1988
WASHINGTON UNIV SEATTLE
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A new method for accelerating projectiles from velocities of 0.7 km sec up to 12 kmsec using chemical energy is described. The concept, called the ram accelerator, is based on gasdynamic principles similar to those of a supersonic airbreathing ramjet but operates in a different manner. The projectile resembles the center body of a ramjet and travels through a tube filled with a premixed gaseous fuel and oxidizer mixture. The tube acts as the outer cowling of the ramjet and the combustion process travels with the projectile. By tailoring the propellant mixture along the tube, a nearly constant acceleration can be achieved. In principle, the ram accelerator is scalable for projectile masses ranging from grams to thousands of kilograms and is capable of ballistic efficiencies as high as 30 percent. Two theoretical models developed for analytical studies are described, one involving a simple quasi-steady, one-dimensional approach, and the other a computational fluid dynamic approach.
- Combustion and Ignition