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.  And one of the best ways to very accurately measure an object is to use 3D scanning and this is done in many industries where accuracy is of a huge importance, you can even hire a 3D scanning service if you would like.

Rocket physics plays a crucial role in the modern world. From launching satellites into orbit to testing Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), principles of rocket mechanics have innumerable applications. The history of rockets goes back to the first century Chinese who used rockets as fireworks to ward off bad spirits, and since then rockets have evolved tremendously. The principles behind rocket propulsion describe a fundamental kind of motion, and to understand it, we need to be familiar with Newton’s laws of motion.

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

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

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