Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stephen A. Whitmore


This research investigated the 3D printing and burning of fuel grains with complex geometry and the development of software capable of modeling and predicting the regression of a cross-section of these complex fuel grains. The software developed did predict the geometry to a fair degree of accuracy, especially when enhanced corner rounding was turned on. The model does have some drawbacks, notably being relatively slow, and does not perfectly predict the regression. If corner rounding is turned off, however, the model does become much faster; although less accurate, this method does still predict a relatively accurate resulting burn geometry, and is fast enough to be used for performance-tuning or genetic algorithms. In addition to the modeling method, preliminary investigations into the burning behavior of fuel grains with a helical flow path were performed. The helix fuel grains have a regression rate of nearly 3 times that of any other fuel grain geometry, primarily due to the enhancement of the friction coefficient between the flow and flow path.




This work made publicly available electronically on December 20, 2012.