Skip navigation
Rocket engine test cell


Temperature measurement of a flame by Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Spectroscopy (CARS)



Since 1948, Purdue researchers have set the standard for combustion and propulsion experiments.  Work at Zucrow Labs led to the development of the original Space Shuttle Main Engines. Today, new technologies allow propellants, combustors, and rocket engines to be conceived, constructed, and tested with unprecedented accuracy.  With the blossoming private space industry, Purdue combustion engineers are in high demand.

And it’s not just space. Purdue researchers also focus on turbines, airplane and automotive engines, and clean-burning energy alternatives. With an unmatched array of facilities at their disposal, Purdue researchers are getting the most out of every flame.

Zucrow Labs is the largest academic propulsion lab in the world. Facilities include:

Working on the combustion engine
  • Multiple reinforced concrete test cells with laser diagnostics
  • Propellant labs with mixers, evaluation rigs, and safety equipment for remote operation
  • Compressed air delivering 3300 cubic feet at 2200 psi
  • Air heater, capable of testing at 1500°F at Mach 4
  • On-site bulk storage and infrastructure for hydrogen, liquid oxygen, liquid nitrogen, and natural gas
  • Data acquisition and storage with analog/digital sensors, high-speed cameras, and controls

More detailed info at


Hypergolic propellants