A Labscale Hybrid Rocket Motor for Instrumentation Studies

Robert Shanks and M. Keith Hudson

ABSTRACT: An interest in plume spectroscopy led to the development of a labscale Hybrid Rocket Facility at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). The goal of this project was to develop a reliable, consistent rocket motor testbed for the development of plume spectroscopy instrumentation. Hybrid motor technology was selected because it has proven to be safe and inexpensive to operate. The project included the design and construction of the labscale hybrid rocket motor, the supporting facility, the instrumentation and computer control of the motor, and the characterization of this particular thruster, including the regression rate of hydroxyl- terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) fuel grains. For plume spectroscopy experiments, the fuel is doped with metal salts, to simulate either solid motors or liquid engines. It was determined the labscale hybrid motor produces a reliable and consistent plume, resulting in an excellent tool for the development of plume spectroscopy and other instrumentation.

Keywords: hybrid rocket motor, plume spectroscopy, engine health, ground testing, rocket diagnostics

Ref: JPyro, Issue 11, 2000, pp1-10

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