Extent and Impacts of Hydrocarbon Fuel Compositional Variability for Aerospace Propulsion Systems
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB EDWARDS AFB CA PROPULSION DIR/SPACE AND MISSILE PROPULSION DIV/AEROPHYSICS BRANCH
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Kerosene fuels possess physical and chemical properties which make them attractive for aerospace propulsion applications from operational and performance standpoints. However, variation in fuel properties and performance owing to differences in chemical makeup can be significant as operating environments and fuel composition fall outside the realm of current experience. Both circumstances are increasingly frequent, given the incorporation of new fuels in existing systems and a desire to increase vehicle performance. The Air Force Research Laboratory AFRL is actively engaged in deriving relationships between fuel composition, properties, and performance in realistic operating conditions. Ideally, these models will be implemented in the optimization of fuel composition to meet requirements for future systems. Moreover, current engine development activities prompt an assessment of as-supplied rocket kerosene, the set of requirements used for its specification, and the potential impacts of compositional variations on engine operability and performance. To address these needs, several lab scale RP-1 formulations were obtained which met specification requirements but were blended from chemically unique feedstocks, thereby representing the expected compositional variation for currently produced fuel. Chemical composition was characterized in terms of hydrocarbon types and was compared between the various formulations.
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