Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stephen A. Whitmore


A thrust augmented nozzle for hybrid rocket systems is investigated. The design lever-ages 3-D additive manufacturing to embed a helical fuel port into the thrust chamber of a hybrid rocket burning gaseous oxygen and ABS plastic as propellants. The helical port significantly increases how quickly the fuel burns, resulting in a fuel-rich exhaust exiting the nozzle. When a secondary gaseous oxygen flow is injected into the nozzle downstream of the throat, all of the remaining unburned fuel in the plume spontaneously ignites. This secondary reaction produces additional high pressure gases that are captured by the nozzle and significantly increases the motor’s performance. Secondary injection and combustion allows a high expansion ratio (area of the nozzle exit divided by area of the throat) to be effective at low altitudes where there would normally be significantly flow separation and possibly an embedded shock wave due. The result is a 15 percent increase in produced thrust level with no loss in engine efficiency due to secondary injection. Core flow efficiency was increased significantly. Control tests performed using cylindrical fuel ports with secondary injection, and helical fuel ports without secondary injection did not exhibit this performance increase. Clearly, both the fuel-rich plume and secondary injection are essential features allowing the hybrid thrust augmentation to occur. Techniques for better design optimization are discussed.