Eric Braun

Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Frank Lu


A series of related analytical and experimental studies are focused on utilizing detonations for emerging propulsion and power generation devices. An understanding of the physical and thermodynamic processes for this unsteady thermodynamic cycle has taken over 100 years to develop. An overview of the thermodynamic processes and development history is provided.Thermodynamic cycle analysis of detonation-based systems has often been studied using surrogate models. A real gas model is used for a thermal efficiency prediction of a detonation wave based on the work and heat specified by process path diagrams and a control volume analysis. A combined first and second law analysis aids in understanding performance trends for different initial conditions.A cycle analysis model for an airbreathing, rotating detonation wave engine (RDE) is presented. The engine consists of a steady inlet system with an isolator which delivers air into an annular combustor. A detonation wave continuously rotates around the combustor with side relief as the flow expands towards the nozzle. Air and fuel enter the combustor when the rarefaction wave pressure behind the detonation front drops to the inlet supply pressure. To create a stable RDE, the inlet pressure is matched in a convergence process with the average combustor pressure by increasing the annulus channel width with respect to the isolator channel. Performance of this engine is considered using several parametric studies.RDEs require a fuel injection system that can cycle beyond the limits of mechanical valves. Fuel injectors composed of an orifice connected to a small plenum cavity were mounted on a detonation tube. These fuel injectors, termed fluidic valves, utilize their geometry and a supply pressure to deliver fuel and contain no moving parts. Their behavior is characterized in order to determine their feasibility for integration with high-frequency RDEs. Parametric studies have been conducted with the type of fuel injected, the orifice diameter, and the plenum cavity pressure. Results indicate that the detonation wave pressure temporarily interrupts the fluidic valve supply, but the wave products can be quickly expelled by the fresh fuel supply to allow for refueling. The interruption time of the valve scales with injection and detonation wave pressure ratios as well as a characteristic time.The feasibility of using a detonation wave as a source for producing power in conjunction with a linear generator is considered. Such a facility can be constructed by placing a piston--spring system at the end of a pulsed detonation engine (PDE). Once the detonation wave reflects off the piston, oscillations of the system drive the linear generator. An experimental facility was developed to explore the interaction of a gaseous detonation wave with the piston. Experimental results were then used to develop a model for the interaction. Governing equations for two engine designs are developed and trends are established to indicate a feasible design space for future development.


Aerospace Engineering | Engineering | Mechanical Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington