Unlimited Propulsion was tasked last semester in prelim to design, test, and build a propulsions system that would assist Aquilon Aeronautics with their airplane design. Aquilion Aeronautics had asked for help in designing their airplane engines so it could fly up to 60,000 feet and would then launch a 30,000 pound payload satellite into a low earth orbit. They used a convergent-divergent nozzle with variable geometry in their design during Prelim so they could use an afterburner with the ultimate goal to use this method in future satellite delivery, in an effort to save money on rockets to launch satellites. The team asked to build the afterburner at the end of their Prelim semester for detail.They named their afterburner system Prometheus.
Prelim required Unlimited Propulsion to conceptually design the part and now this semester they are in the test and build phase of their afterburner. They designed the afterburner to augment the SR-30 turbojet, located in the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Propulsion Lab. When asked about the importance of the project, Becklyn Meguire, team lead, reported that, “augmenting jet engines is desirable due to their ability to provide up to 100 percent more thrust to the engine,” which is important part of the jet engine industry.
The most important part of Detail is the test phase. The tests outlined in Unlimited Propulsion’s report will collect temperature data using thermocouples and thrust data using strain gages. Using estimates for the temperatures and mass flow rate, Prometheus is expected to produce approximately 4 lb of thrust. The expected temperature in the combustion zone is estimated to be 1850 R due to the ignition of the introduced propane.
Unlimited Propulsion has worked hard this semester and teamwork was key in getting the project done. There was some difficulties switching from designing to building but once they made the switch, Maguire says that the building was the best part. The first tests were performed on Sunday April 21.