Systematic and careful combination of analysis and experimentation on injectors, combustors, nozzles, and propellants for both rocket and air-breathing propulsion. Specific research areas include ignition, non-toxic propellants, combined cycle propulsion, combustion stability, fuel cooling, and life prediction.
Professor Heister has addressed a large number of areas during his tenure at Purdue. Early efforts involved development of a variety of models for liquid injection and atomization processes. Both boundary element calculations of detailed atomization processes and homogeneous flow/pseudo-density models have been developed to assess unsteady processes in injection systems. Models for gas/liquid and cavitating flows have been developed for use within the homogeneous fluid architecture, both 2-D and 3-D models have been developed for use in this context. Both 2-D and 3-D boundary element codes have also been developed and applied to both pressure and pressure-swirl atomizers with and without gas-phase contributions. Several graduate students continue to pursue these areas within Dr. Heister's research group.
During the past decade, Professor Heister has become more involved with experimental work at the substantial propulsion laboratories available at the Maurice J. Zucrow Lab complex. In this context, his group has been involved with solid, hybrid, and liquid rocket engine developments. Substantial work has been done with hydrogen peroxide-based hybrid rockets using various ignition schemes and a multitude of fuel combinations. The group collaborates closely with Air Force and Navy Laboratories in the assessment of new liquid and hybrid rocket propellants. The group has been a substantial contributor to development of nontoxic hypergolic propellants for liquid rocket applications. Studies have also been conducted under DARPA sponsorship with regard to propulsion systems for mobile land mines. An experimental facility has been developed to study cyclic operation of Pulse Detonation Engines at frequencies as high as 50 Hz.
In 2003, Dr. Heister was named the Director of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Center in High Mach Propulsion, the first such center in the United States. In accordance with this role, he collaborates with other AAE and ME faculty in developing experimental facilities to heat sink and coking characteristics of gas turbine fuels at aggressive high temperature conditions. In addition, this group is pursuing advanced fuel injectors for application to high Mach jet engines.
Professor Timothée L. Pourpoint’s research interests relate to propulsion, combustion, and energy storage.
Dr. Pourpoint research focus in propulsion is to further the understanding of storable propellant ignition and combustion through system level testing and advanced diagnostic techniques with an emphasis on novel propellant combinations. A major emphasis of his work is on the development and characterization of new chemical propellants (see: Aerospace Propulsion and Energy Conversion Systems).
Energy Storage Research
Dr. Pourpoint is developing safe and efficient ways to use hydrogen for power generation through a combination of gas and solid-state storage approaches. This research builds on the experience and testing capabilities developed in partnership with General Motors for the characterization and large-scale evaluation of high pressure metal hydrides and adsorbents. Additional details about this research can be found at: Hydrogen Systems LaboratoryExperimental Testing Facilities
As part of his work Dr. Pourpoint has been involved in designing, implementing, and operating several testing facilities at the Maurice Zucrow Laboratories. Through his research Dr. Pourpoint has gained expertise in working with high-pressure hydrogen (up to 180 gal and 10,000 psia), pyrophoric metal powders, nanoscale materials, and propellants including monomethyl hydrazine, nitrogen tetroxide, hydrogen peroxide, and red fuming nitric acid.
(1) High-performance fuels for high-speed propulsion systems;
(2) Pre-chamber turbulent jet ignition for lean-burn engines;
(3) Supercritical behaviors in high-pressure propulsion systems;
(4) Combustion at smaller scales for MEMS and portable power generation;
(5) Combustion and safety of alternative fuels, fuel synthesis
My research group is primarily interested in a wide range of fundamental energetic materials (propellants, explosives, and pyrotechnics) research areas. We focus on state-of-the-art dynamic experimentation and creating novel reactive materials. We develop or apply the most advanced diagnostics often applied in harsh reacting environments to develop improved understanding and characterization. We also seek to develop tailored disruptive energetic materials with unique properties. Ultimately our research aims to improve the performance, safety, or toxicity of energetic materials. We also have interest in energy topics, including coal combustion and hydrogen storage. More information can be found at: http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~sson/