Investigating Geometrical Configurations of a Hobby-Scale Pulsejet Engine for Maximum Thrust Efficiency

Open Access
Beers, Benjamin Ray
Area of Honors:
Interdisciplinary in Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Science
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Michael Matthew Micci, Thesis Supervisor
  • Christine Masters, Honors Advisor
  • Robert Graham Melton, Honors Advisor
  • Judith A Todd, Faculty Reader
  • George A Lesieutre, Faculty Reader
  • Pulsejet
  • aspirating
  • sustaining
  • Multiphysics
  • deflagrative
  • combustion
  • wave diagram
  • valve head
  • reed valve
Pulsejet technology has found renewed interest as a viable alternative to traditional chemical rocket propulsion methods in the early stages of spaceflight while the launch vehicle is traveling at subsonic speeds. The research herein implements COMSOL Multiphysics to begin development of a computational model that simulates a commercially available hobby-scale pulsejet engine. The conservation of mass, momentum, and energy and the Ideal Gas Law equation of state are solved simultaneously for one-dimensional, unsteady, compressible flow. More specifically, the conservation of mass is applied by taking into account a changing cross-sectional area to see how compression and rarefaction waves propagate and reflect throughout the engine during its operation cycle. Velocity data is obtained at the nozzle exit plane and an approach is established for calculating thrust to understand how to optimize it.