Over the last year I have been working on a 3D printed spark torch igniter, this has been a little side project while at university and eventually the experience gained will lead to this or a similar igniter used to light the main chamber of my rocket engine.
Yesterday I achieved the first hot fire tests of the igniter, the final test is shown below.
I ran through three hot fire tests, tuning it a bit each go. As can be seen, it is currently running oxygen-rich whereas it was designed to run fuel rich, the flame is too blue.
The design chamber pressure is 70 PSI, in this test it is ~85 PSI, so still some tuning of the inlet pressures required.
Before this test I had to replace a solenoid with another I had that has a smaller orifice than the fuel orifice on the igniter, although there is only 0.1mm difference this could slightly affect the performance. In the future, I will implement different sized orifice fittings to help fine tune it as I am not 100% on the size of the 3D printed orifices in the chamber.
This deserved a post on its own.
I found a couple more video’s of this 3D printed aerospike online which go into a bit more detail.
Of note, the engine has multiple internal chambers, which in the future could be used for thrust vector control, as well as the regen cooled chamber, the spike is also cooled. The engine burns Methane and Gaseous Oxygen producing a thrust of 4kN or 1000lbf, the video below shows a burn time of 60sec.
More info on the project can be found here and here.
WARR, students from TU Munich have been hard at work continuing their hybrid propulsion work and experimentation. With the latest fuel grain being assisted by 3D printing the shape and then pouring the HTPB in, thus avoiding any demolding issues that may arise as it is all burnt as one.
I know RML Spacelab have used this technique, taking it as far as getting individuals at home with a 3D printer to print and send in the mold parts required. A great way to contribute to a project.
I look forward to seeing this engine fire, it should be spectacular!
UC San Diego, CA – UC San Diego’s Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS UCSD) tested its first monopropellant thruster, Callan, earlier this summer at Purdue University to confirm its designed thrust of 1 lbf at ideal steady state operation. The thruster is part of the group’s NASA Cube Quest entry, Triteia, and aims to propel the cube satellite into lunar orbit.
SEDS at UCSD member Bryan Dierking has an extensive photo collection of the teams Vulcan-1 rocket build and launch, from conceptual sketches to the unfortunate aftermath it is worth going through the album and having a look.
Portland State Aerospace Society have been working on a 3D printed liquid-fuelled rocket engine. The engine is designed to burn liquid oxygen and ethanol, using a pintle injector and a regeneratively cooled chamber supplemented by film cooling,the engine is expected to produce 250lbf of thrust at an ISP of ~235s.