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United States Patent Application 20180010800
Kind Code A1
NAGESH; Adithya Ananth January 11, 2018

SHOCK COMPRESSION BASED SUPERSONIC COMBUSTOR

Abstract

A supersonic combustor containing an injector module, a combustor core and an outer shell. The injector module houses both fuel and oxidizer nozzles. The combustor core contains grooves within which the combustion process takes place. The outer shell holds both the injector module and the combustor core and allows for other cooling, mounting and structural mechanisms required for operation.


Inventors: NAGESH; Adithya Ananth; (Glendale, CA)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

NAGESH; Adithya Ananth

Glendale

CA

US
Family ID: 1000002926786
Appl. No.: 15/182447
Filed: June 14, 2016


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: F23R 3/26 20130101; F23R 3/28 20130101; F23R 3/58 20130101; F23C 2205/00 20130101
International Class: F23R 3/26 20060101 F23R003/26; F23R 3/28 20060101 F23R003/28; F23R 3/58 20060101 F23R003/58

Claims



1. A supersonic combustor comprising: an injector module comprising at least one set of fuel and oxidizer lines, wherein each of said fuel lines includes a fuel line injector port and each of said oxidizer lines includes an oxidizer line injector port; a combustor core coupled to said injector module, wherein said combustor core comprises a combustion section towards its proximal end and a mixing section towards its distal end, wherein the combustion section comprises a corresponding groove for each set of fuel and oxidizer lines, wherein each groove is positioned axially and circumferentially along the combustor core and has an entrance at said proximal end of said combustor core, wherein said oxidizer line injector port and said fuel line injector port are coupled to said entrance of said corresponding groove; and an outer shell, wherein said injector module and said combustor core are coupled inside said outer shell.

2. The supersonic combustor of claim 1, wherein each groove comprises a sidewall configured to provide a desired shock compression and detonation.

3. The supersonic combustor of claim 1, wherein the oxidizer injector port further comprises a valve attached at an angle .theta. to an opposite sidewall.

4. The supersonic combustor of claim 1, wherein said oxidizer line is configured for generating micro shock waves.

5. The supersonic combustor of claim 1, further comprising a cooling system coupled to said outer shell.

6. The supersonic combustor of claim 1, wherein said outer shell further comprises mounting components.

7. The supersonic combustor of claim 3, wherein actuation of the valve at the oxidizer injector port and fuel injection into the groove is governed by a control system.

8. The supersonic combustor of claim 1, wherein each of said groove is spiral.

9. The supersonic combustor of claim 1, wherein a downstream cross-section of the groove is configured to change a propagating reactive flow in said groove between subsonic and supersonic based on the application.

10. A supersonic combustor comprising: an injector module comprising a plurality of fuel and oxidizer lines, wherein each of said fuel lines includes a fuel line injector port and each of said oxidizer lines includes an oxidizer line injector port; and a combustor core coupled to said injector module, wherein said combustor core comprises a combustion section towards its proximal end and a mixing section towards its distal end, wherein the combustion section comprises a plurality of grooves positioned axially and circumferentially along the combustor core, wherein at least one fuel line injector port and one oxidizer line injector port are coupled to an entrance of one of said plurality of grooves of said combustor core.

11. The supersonic combustor of claim 10, further comprising an outer shell, wherein said injector module and said combustor core are coupled inside said outer shell.

12. The supersonic combustor of claim 10, wherein each one of said plurality of grooves is spiral.

13. The supersonic combustor of claim 10, wherein each one of said plurality of grooves comprises a sidewall configured to provide a desired shock compression and detonation.

14. The supersonic combustor of claim 10, wherein the oxidizer injector port further comprises a valve attached at an angle .theta. to an opposite sidewall.

15. The supersonic combustor of claim 10, wherein each of said plurality of oxidizer lines is configured for generating micro shock waves.
Description



BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

[0001] Embodiments of the invention relates to the field of propulsion. More specifically, the invention relates to combustors based on detonation combustion for gas turbine or other engine based application.

Description of the Related Art

[0002] A combustor of an engine is a component that houses the burning process of fuel-oxidizer (F/O) mixture or some combination thereof. The combustion process in majority of the engines in operation is subsonic i.e. the rate at which the F/O mixture burns is slower than the local speed of sound. This is a constant pressure combustion process also known as deflagration.

[0003] A detonation combustor houses a similar burning process, however the rate at which the F/O mixture is burnt is faster than the local speed of sound. This a constant volume process also known as detonation. A detonation process is thermodynamically superior to the deflagration process.

[0004] The challenge with existing detonation combustors and detonation based engines are the valves and ignition system required to maintain the pulsed regime of the detonation waves and its unsteady flow characteristics. The present invention aims to address this issue with a unique new technique.

[0005] Where other detonation combustor technologies rely on spark or flame as the source of ignition, the present invention utilizes shock compression and/or shock reflection to carry out the ignition process. The present invention also allows for comparably more uniform and steady flow at the end of the combustion chamber in order to reduce the fatiguing from the pulsed or unsteady nature of other concepts and technologies.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] One or more embodiments of the invention comprises of an injector module supporting both fuel and oxidizer, a combustion core with grooves wherein the detonation occurs and propagates towards the exit and an outer shell that envelopes the injector module and the combustion core.

[0007] A select mass flow of fuel is injected into to the corresponding groove of the combustion core from the fuel nozzle located at the injection module. In the case of a liquid fuel, the said fuel nozzle would be an atomizer. Accurately timed, the oxidizer line ejects a micro shock wave into the same groove of the combustion core. The shock wave compresses the injected fuel against a wall of the groove until the critical pressure, dictated by the Chapman-Jouguet detonation theory, is achieved upon which deflagration to detonation transition (DDT) or direct detonation combustion is initiated. The detonation waves and the reflected Mach waves then propagate out of the combustion section of the combustor core to the mixing section where it then becomes periodic with respect to the reactive flow from the other grooves before exiting the combustor completely.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] The above and other aspects, features and advantages of the invention will be more apparent from the following more particular description thereof, presented in conjunction with the following drawings wherein:

[0009] FIG. 1 is an exploded isometric view of the supersonic combustor in accordance with one or more embodiments of the present invention.

[0010] FIG. 2 is a downstream exploded view of the supersonic combustor illustrating the main components comprising the injector module, combustor core and the outer shell, in accordance with one or more embodiments of the present invention.

[0011] FIG. 3A is an isometric view of the injector module in accordance with one or more embodiments of the present invention.

[0012] FIG. 3B is an isometric view of the injector module internals detailing the oxidizer and fuel lines therein in accordance with one or more embodiments of the present invention.

[0013] FIG. 4A is a front cross-sectional view of the injector module in accordance with one or more embodiments of the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 4B is a close-up view of a set of fuel and oxidizer injector ports in accordance with one or more embodiments of the present invention.

[0015] FIG. 5 is an upstream cross-sectional view of the combustor core in accordance with one or more embodiments of the present invention.

[0016] FIG. 6 is a side profile view of the combustor core in accordance with one or more embodiments of the present invention.

[0017] FIG. 7 is an upstream cross-sectional view of the combustor core in accordance with one or more embodiments of the present invention.

[0018] FIG. 8 is an isometric view of the outer shell in accordance with one or more embodiments of the present invention.

[0019] FIG. 9 is a side profile view of the injector module geometrically mated to the combustor core and partially depicting the combustion process in accordance with one or more embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0020] The present invention comprising shock compression based supersonic combustor will now be described. In the following exemplary description numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough understanding of embodiments of the invention. It will be apparent, however, to an artisan of ordinary skill that the present invention may be practiced without incorporating all aspects of the specific details described herein. Furthermore, although steps or processes are set forth in an exemplary order to provide an understanding of one or more systems and methods, the exemplary order is not meant to be limiting. One of ordinary skill in the art would recognize that the steps or processes may be performed in a different order, and that one or more steps or processes may be performed simultaneously or in multiple process flows without departing from the spirit or the scope of the invention. In other instances, specific features, quantities, or measurements well known to those of ordinary skill in the art have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the invention. It should be noted that although examples of the invention are set forth herein, the claims, and the full scope of any equivalents, are what define the metes and bounds of the invention.

[0021] For a better understanding of the disclosed embodiment, its operating advantages, and the specified object attained by its uses, reference should be made to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there are illustrated exemplary disclosed embodiments. The disclosed embodiments are not intended to be limited to the specific forms set forth herein. It is understood that various omissions and substitutions of equivalents are contemplated as circumstances may suggest or render expedient, but these are intended to cover the application or implementation.

[0022] Those of skill in the art would appreciate that the dimensions, geometric parameters and the components detailed in the drawings of the present invention are subjected to change based on the device application, scale, and/or related flow characteristics in order to ensure optimal efficiency and performance.

[0023] The term "first", "second" and the like, herein do not denote any order, quantity or importance, but rather are used to distinguish one element from another, and the terms "a" and "an" herein do not denote a limitation of quantity, but rather denote the presence of at least one of the referenced item.

[0024] One or more embodiments of the present invention will now be described with references to FIGS. 1-9.

[0025] Illustrated in FIG. 1 is an exploded isometric view of an exemplary embodiment of the supersonic combustor 100 of the present invention. As illustrated, the supersonic combustor 100 comprises injector module 110, combustor core 120 and the outer shell 130. One or more embodiments of the present invention may include alignment keys, e.g. 114 on the injector module 110 and keys 124 on combustor core 120. As illustrated, the down-stream front-side face 113 of the injector module 110 is coupled (coincident) with the upstream back-side face 123 of the combustor core 120, and the keys 114 of the injector module 110 are aligned with the keys 124 of the combustor core. The alignment of the injector module 110 and combustor core 120 ensures proper placement of the oxidizer line injector port 118 and fuel line injector port 119 within the entrance 125 of the corresponding grooves 121 of the combustor core 120. The aligned keys 114 and 124 slide into the corresponding slots 134 of the outer shell 130, locking the various components into position. The sets of fuel lines 116 and oxidizer lines 115 are also illustrated in FIG. 3A. The pressurized oxidizer from the compressor (usually air) moves into a plenum which then channels the required amount into the oxidizer lines 115 through oxidizer inlet ports 111 of the injector module 110 as well as any cooling systems utilized by the device and/or engine.

[0026] Illustrated in FIG. 2, is a downstream exploded isometric view of the exemplary embodiment of supersonic combustor 100 detailing the assembly of the injector module 110, combustor core 120 and the outer shell 130. This illustration provides an example of the positioning of the line injector ports 119 and 118 of the fuel line 116 and oxidizer line 115, respectively, at their corresponding entrances 125 (see FIG. 6) to grooves 121 of the combustor core 120. The direction of the fuel line 116 is in the z-axis of the supersonic combustor 100 and is coupled through fuel inlet ports 112, whereas the downstream injector port 118 of the oxidizer line 115 and in turn any valve mechanism that would be attached is at an angle .theta. to the opposite sidewall 122 of the corresponding groove 121 belonging to the combustor core 120.

[0027] Illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B are exemplary illustrations of the downstream isometric views of the injector module 110 and its internals in accordance with one or more embodiments of the present invention. These illustrations detail the keys 114 and the front-side face 113 of the injector module 110 that mate with the rear-side face 123 and the keys 124 of the combustor core 120. Each set of the fuel lines 116 and oxidizer lines 115 of the injector module 110 correspond to a groove 121 of the combustor core. The fuel system (storage, pump and pipes outside of the present invention) delivers the fuel to the fuel line 116 through the fuel inlet ports 112. The fuel line 116 may be configured to transport the fluid (e.g. fuel or fuel/air mixture) to the corresponding groove 121 of the combustor core 120 or it can act as a retainer for a different pipe and nozzle/injector depending on the type of fluid and the application. Delivered from the compressor and plenum of the engine, the oxidizer line 115 is filled with oxidizer. Upon achieving critical mass and pressure, a valve located at the downstream injector port 118 of the oxidizer line 115 forms a quick circular opening, analogous to that of a diaphragm burst in a conventional shock tube. This results in production of a micro-shock wave of a specific strength. The length, internal diameter, and cross-sectional area of the oxidizer lines 115 and fuel lines 116 may vary based on the scale, performance, efficiency, flow characteristics and/or any other desired parameter.

[0028] Illustrated in FIGS. 4A and 4B are a front cross-sectional view and a close-up of a set of fuel injector ports 119 and oxidizer injector ports 118 in accordance with one or more embodiments of the injector module of the present invention. As illustrated, there are one or more, preferably a plurality (e.g. eight (8)), sets of fuel lines 116 and oxidizer lines 115 on the injector module 110. The number of sets of fuel lines 116 and oxidizer lines 115 correspond to the number of grooves 121, e.g. eight (8), in the combustor core 120. The number of fuel lines 116 and oxidizer lines 115 as well as the corresponding grooves 121 of the combustor core 120 can be varied based on the scale of the present invention and its application. The injector port 118 of the oxidizer line 115 is at an acute angle .theta. with respect to the front-side cross-section face 113 of the injector module 110 and the axial direction (z-axis) of the combustor 100. This angle may vary based on the combustion requirements and/or any other parameters that might contribute to the operation of the device. The linear and circumferential spacing between the fuel lines 116 and oxidizer lines 115, and the thickness of the injector module 110 may also vary due to the device scale, flow characteristics and any other optimization parameters.

[0029] Illustrated in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 are exemplary embodiments of the combustor core 120 of the present invention. These drawings illustrate the upstream cross-section, side profile and the upstream isometric views of the combustor core 120 respectively. In FIG. 5, an exemplary configuration of the keys 124 of the combustor core 120 are illustrated. In the illustrative embodiment present herein, keys 124 are configured to align with the keys 114 of the injector module 110. The location of the keys 114 and 124 may change based on the device scale and other design criteria, however, alignment of the keys 114, 124 are used to ensure the correct placement of the fuel injector ports 119 and oxidizer injector ports 118 of the injector module 110, within the corresponding entrance 125 of the grooves 121. The rear face 123 of the combustor core 120 is shown, which mates with the front face 113 of the injector module 110 allowing the keys 114 and 124 to align. A center hole 127 is present along the entire axial length of the combustor core 120. The center hole 127 may house the shaft and bearings of an engine to which the present invention is fitted. FIG. 5 also shows the entrance of the grooves 125 where the corresponding fuel injector ports 119 and oxidizer injector ports 118 are positioned to enable the device operation.

[0030] As illustrated in FIG. 6, the combustor core comprises a combustion section 128 and a mixing section 129. A configuration for grooves 121 along the axial and circumferential direction of combustion section 128 of the combustor core 120 are illustrated. In the present exemplary embodiment of the combustor core 120, the path of the grooves 121 turns along with the circumference of the combustor core 120, i.e. spiral, to add a component of rotation to the reactive flow. Those of skill in the art would appreciate that the configuration and path of the grooves 121 may be different, e.g. straight, linear and/or follow a complex curve based on the device optimization requirements. The dimension of the walls 122 can vary based on the shock compression and detonation requirements. The axial and circumferential lengths of the grooves 121 and its walls 122 may vary in order to condition the reactive flow for the entrance of the turbine section downstream of the present invention.

[0031] The mixing section 129 of the combustor core 120, downstream of the grooves 121, are illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7. The mixing section 129 allows the periodic reactive flow from each groove 121 to merge and create a more uniform flow downstream. The axial length of the mixing section 129 can vary in order to ensure proper mixing of the reactive flows.

[0032] Illustrated in FIG. 8 is an illustration of the outer shell 130 of the exemplary embodiment of the present invention. This drawing details the general configuration of the outer shell 130 of the supersonic combustor 100 from an upstream isometric view. The slots 134 can be seen, into which the keys 114 and 124 of injector module 110 and combustor core 120 respectively, slide in. This ensures that the mated and aligned injector module 110 and combustor core 120 are locked into their appropriate positions, allowing the supersonic combustor 100 to be installed and operated with an engine. Although the design of the outer shell 130 is illustrated as a simple hollow cylinder, those of skill in the art would appreciate that it could take other configurations to accommodate other systems, such as cooling, mounting or control systems based on the device and/or engine operation. Similarly, the inner configuration of the outer shell 130, may be of different design, for example, dictated by combustion and flow regime requirements as well as the compatibility to an engine's turbine section.

[0033] Alignment, locking and mounting techniques for the present invention and its components may change as required. Additional components may be added to the present invention in order to refine its design and function based on its application. For example, those of skill in the arts would appreciate that cooling, mounting and control systems may change the general design of the components of the supersonic combustor detailed herein. The actuation of the valves at the downstream oxidizer injector ports 118 of the oxidizer lines 115 and the fuel injection from the fuel lines 116 will be governed by a control system. The key parameters of the present invention responsible for the throttling of the device are mass flow of fuel injected from each fuel line 116 into its corresponding grooves 121; strength and mass flow of the micro shock wave generated by the oxidizer line 115 and its valve system; and the frequency of fuel 116 and oxidizer 115 fired within their corresponding grooves 121.

[0034] FIG. 9 is a side profile view of the injector module geometrically mated to the combustor core and partially depicting the combustion process in accordance with one or more embodiments of the present invention. The mated injector module 110 and combustor core 120 are configured to fit inside the outer shell 130.

[0035] During the combustion process, as the fuel is injected into the groove 121 via the fuel line 116, a valve, e.g. an iris valve, or any other suitable mechanism placed at the downstream injector port 118 of the oxidizer line 115 forms a circular opening to mimic a diaphragm burst of a conventional shock-tube, thereby creating a micro shock wave. The oxidizer line injector port aperture, timing and other operational parameters may be governed by a control system. As the generated micro shock wave enters the grove 121, it compresses the injected fuel mass against the sidewall 122 of the groove 121 opposite to the location of the oxidizer line injector port 118. Detonation combustion occurs as the critical Chapman-Jouguet (CJ) conditions are achieved during the compression process. The detonation waves and reflected Mach waves then propagate down the groove 121. The downstream cross section 126 of the grooves 121 can be tailored to change the regime of the propagating reactive flow between subsonic and supersonic based on the application of the present invention (e.g. supersonic regime for thrust and subsonic regime for power generation applications). As the reactive flow exits the combustion section 128 and enters the mixing section 129 of the combustor core 120, it merges with the periodic reactive flow from other grooves 121, resulting in a uniform flow at the exit 139 of supersonic combustor 100.

[0036] While the invention herein disclosed has been described by means of specific embodiments and applications thereof, numerous modifications and variations could be made thereto by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention set forth in the claims.

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