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Operating principle Sub critical, critical and supercritical operation Combustion in ramjet
engine Ramjet performance Sample ramjet design calculations Introduction to scramjet
Preliminary concepts in supersonic combustion Integral ram- rocket- Numerical problems.


Ramjets can be thought of as propulsive devices evolved out of turbojets.

Ramjets operates well only at high speeds, typically between M = 2.0 and 4.0.
The combustion mode being not very different from that of an afterburner, the specific
fuel consumption is comparable to that of afterburner.
The ramjet, unlike turbojet and turbofan does not produce any thrust at zero speed.
Ramjets are mostly contemplated for use in military applications.


A scram jet engine is an engine that is much lighter than a conventional jet engine, can
propel an object at speeds of over 5000 miles per hour and has no moving parts.
If you could get it to work, the trip from London to Sydney would only take two hours!
This technology would also be very useful to launch small satellites.
The engine runs on oxygen, which it gets from the atmosphere, and a small amount of
The engine would save a fantastic amount on the cost of fuel.
This technology has been around since the 1950s but the problem is the motor will only
become efficient at five times the speed of sound or Mach 5.
Because of this the plane would need two engines, an engine capable of getting it to
Mach 5 and a Scram Jet.

A ramjet engine

A scramjet engine

A ramjet has no moving parts and achieves compression of intake air by the forward
speed of the air vehicle.
Air entering the intake of a supersonic aircraft is slowed by aerodynamic diffusion
created by the inlet and diffuser to velocities comparable to those in a turbojet augmenter.
The expansion of hot gases after fuel injection and combustion accelerates the exhaust air
to a velocity higher than that at the inlet and creates positive push.
Scramjet is an acronym for Supersonic Combustion Ramjet.
The scramjet differs from the ramjet is that combustion takes place at supersonic air
velocities through the engine.
It is mechanically simple, but vastly more complex aerodynamically than a jet engine.
Hydrogen is normally the fuel used.
A scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) is a variation of a ramjet with the key
difference being that the flow in the combustor is supersonic.
At higher speeds it is necessary to combust supersonically to maximize the efficiency of
the combustion process.
Projections for the top speed of a scramjet engine (without additional oxidizer input) vary
between Mach 12 and Mach 24 (orbital velocity), but the X-30 research gave Mach 17
due to combustion rate issues.
By way of contrast, the fastest conventional air-breathing, manned vehicles, such as the
U.S. Air Force SR-71, achieve slightly more than Mach 3.2 and rockets achieved Mach
30+ during Apollo.
Like a ramjet, a scramjet essentially consists of a constricted tube through which
inlet air is compressed by the high speed of the vehicle, fuel is combusted, and then
the exhaust jet leaves at higher speed than the inlet air.
Also like a ramjet, there are few or no moving parts. In particular there is no high speed
turbine as in a turbofan or turbojet engine that can be a major point of failure.
A scramjet requires supersonic airflow through the engine, thus, similar to a ramjet,
scramjets have a minimum functional speed. This speed is uncertain due to the low
number of working scramjets, relative youth of the field, and the largely classified nature
of research using complete scramjet engines.
However it is likely to be at least Mach 5 for a pure scramjet, with higher Mach numbers
7-9 more likely. Thus scramjets require acceleration to hypersonic speed via other means.
A hybrid ramjet/scramjet would have a lower minimum functional Mach number, and
some sources indicate the NASA X-43A research vehicle is a hybrid design.
Recent tests of prototypes have used a booster rocket to obtain the necessary velocity.
Air breathing engines should have significantly better specific impulse while within
the atmosphere than rocket engines.
However scramjets have weight and complexity issues that must be considered. While
very short suborbital scramjets test flights have been successfully performed, perhaps

significantly no flown scramjet has ever been successfully designed to survive a flight
The viability of scramjet vehicles is hotly contested in aerospace and space vehicle
circles, in part because many of the parameters which would eventually define the
efficiency of such a vehicle remain uncertain.
This has led to grandiose claims from both sides, which have been intensified by the large
amount of funding involved in any hypersonic testing. Some notable aerospace gurus
such as Henry Spencer and Jim Oberg have gone so far as calling orbital scramjets 'the
hardest way to reach orbit', or even 'scramjets' due to the extreme technical challenges
Major, well funded projects, like the X-30 were cancelled before producing any working
The scramjet is a proposed solution to both of these problems, by modifications of the
ramjet design. The main change is that the blockage inside the engine is reduced, so that
the air isn't slowed down as much. This means that the air is cooler, so that the fuel can
burn properly. Unfortunately the higher speed of the air means that the fuel has to mix
and burn in a very short time, which is difficult to achieve.
To keep the combustion of the fuel going at the same rate, the pressure and temperature
in the engine need to be kept constant. Unfortunately, the blockages which were removed
from the ramjet were useful to control the air in the engine, and so the scramjet is forced
to fly at a particular speed for each altitude. This is called a "constant dynamic pressure
path" because the wind that the scramjet feels in its face is constant, making the scramjet
fly faster at higher altitude and slower at lower altitude.
The inside of a very simple scramjet would look like two kitchen funnels attached by
their small ends. The first funnel is the intake, and the air is pushed through, becoming
compressed and hot. In the small section, where the two funnels join, fuel is added, and
the combustion makes the gas become even hotter and more compressed. Finally, the
second funnel is a nozzle, like the nozzle of a rocket, and thrust is produced.
Note that most artists' impressions of scramjet-powered vehicle designs depict waveriders
where the underside of the vehicle forms the intake and nozzle of the engine. This means
that the intake and nozzle of the engine are asymmetric and contribute directly to the lift
of the aircraft. A waverider is the required form for a hypersonic lifting body
A scramjet is a type of engine which is designed to operate at the high speeds normally
associated with rocket propulsion.
It differs from a classic rocket by using air collected from the atmosphere to burn its fuel,
as opposed to an oxidizer carried with the vehicle.
Normal jet engines and ramjet engines also use air collected from the atmosphere in this
The problem is that collecting air from the atmosphere causes drag, which increases
quickly as the speed increases.

Also, at high speed, the air collected becomes so hot that the fuel no longer burns
All scramjet engines have fuel injectors, a combustion chamber, a thrust nozzle and an
inlet, which compresses the incoming air.
Sometimes engines also include a region which acts as a flame holder, although the high
stagnation temperatures mean that an area of focused waves may be used, rather than a
discrete engine part as seen in turbine engines.
Other engines use pyrophoric fuel additives, such as silane, to avoid such issues.
An isolator between the inlet and combustion chamber is often included to improve the
homogeneity of the flow in the combustor and to extend the operating range of the
A scramjet is reminiscent of a ramjet.
In a typical ramjet, the supersonic inflow of the engine is decelerated at the inlet to
subsonic speeds and then reaccelerated through a nozzle to supersonic speeds to produce
thrust. This deceleration, which is produced by a normal shock, creates a total pressure
loss which limits the upper operating point of a ramjet engine.
For a scramjet, the kinetic energy of the freestream air entering the scramjet engine is
large compared to the energy released by the reaction of the oxygen content of the air
with a fuel (say hydrogen).
Thus the heat released from combustion at Mach 25 is around 10% of the total enthalpy
of the working fluid.
Depending on the fuel, the kinetic energy of the air and the potential combustion heat
release will be equal at around Mach 8.
Thus the design of a scramjet engine is as much about minimizing drag as maximizing
This high speed makes the control of the flow within the combustion chamber more
difficult. Since the flow is supersonic, no upstream influence propagates within the
freestream of the combustion chamber.
Thus throttling of the entrance to the thrust nozzle is not a usable control technique.
In effect, a block of gas entering the combustion chamber must mix with fuel and have
sufficient time for initiation and reaction, all the while travelling supersonically through
the combustion chamber, before the burned gas is expanded through the thrust nozzle.
This places stringent requirements on the pressure and temperature of the flow, and
requires that the fuel injection and mixing be extremely efficient.
Usable dynamic pressures lie in the range 20 to 200 kPa (0.2-2 bar), where

q is the dynamic pressure of the gas

(rho) is the density of the gas

v is the velocity of the gas
Fuel injection and management is also potentially complex.
One possibility would be that the fuel is pressurized to 100 bar by a turbo pump, heated
by the fuselage, sent through the turbine and accelerated to higher speeds than the air by a
The air and fuel stream are crossed in a comb like structure, which generates a large
Turbulence due to the higher speed of the fuel lead to additional mixing. Complex fuels
like kerosine need a long engine to complete combustion.
The minimum Mach number at which a scramjet can operate is limited by the fact that
the compressed flow must be hot enough to burn the fuel, and of high enough pressure
that the reaction is finished before the air moves out the back of the engine.
Additionally, in order to be called a scramjet, the compressed flow must still be
supersonic after combustion.
Here two limits must be observed:
Firstly, since when a supersonic flow is compressed it slows down, the level of
compression must be low enough (or the initial speed high enough) not to slow down the
gas below Mach 1.
If the gas within a scramjet goes below Mach 1 the engine will "choke", transitioning to
subsonic flow in the combustion chamber.
This effect is well known amongst experimenters on scramjets since the waves caused by
choking are easily observable.
Additionally, the sudden increase in pressure and temperature in the engine can lead to an
acceleration of the combustion, leading to the combustion chamber exploding.
Secondly, the heating of the gas by combustion causes the speed of sound in the gas
to increase (and the Mach number to decrease) even though the gas is still traveling
at the same speed. Forcing the speed of air flow in the combustion chamber under
Mach 1 in this way is called "thermal choking".
It is clear that a pure scramjet can operate at Mach numbers of 6-8, but in the lower
limit, it depends on the definition of a scramjet.
Certainly there are designs where a ramjet transforms into a scramjet over the Mach 3-6
range (Dual-mode scramjets). In this range however, the engine is still receiving
significant thrust from subsonic combustion of "ramjet" type.
The high cost of flight testing and the unavailability of ground facilities have hindered
scramjet development.
A large amount of the experimental work on scramjets has been undertaken in cryogenic
facilities, direct-connect tests, or burners, each of which simulates one aspect of the
engine operation.

Further, vitiated facilities, storage heated facilities, arc facilities and the various types of
shock tunnels each have limitations which have prevented perfect simulation of scramjet
The HyShot flight test showed the relevance of the 1:1 simulation of conditions in the T4
and HEG shock tunnels, despite having cold models and a short test time.
The NASA-CIAM tests provided similar verification for CIAM's C-16 V/K facility and
the Hyper-X project is expected to provide similar verification for the Langley AHSTF ,
CHSTF and 8 ft HTT.
Computational fluid dynamics has only recently reached a position to make reasonable
computations in solving scramjet operation problems.
Boundary layer modeling, turbulent mixing, two-phase flow, flow separation, and realgas aerothermodynamics continue to be problems on the cutting edge of CFD.
Additionally, the modeling of kinetic-limited combustion with very fast-reacting species
such as hydrogen makes severe demands on computing resources.
Reaction schemes are numerically stiff, having typical times as low as 10-19 seconds,
requiring reduced reaction schemes.
Much of scramjet experimentation remains classified. Several groups including the US
Navy with the SCRAM engine between 1968-1974, and the Hyper-X program with the
X-43A have claimed successful demonstrations of scramjet technology. Since these
results have not been published openly, they remain unverified and a final design method
of scramjet engines still does not exist.
The final application of a scramjet engine is likely to be in conjunction with engines
which can operate outside the scramjet's operating range.
Dual-mode scramjets combine subsonic combustion with supersonic combustion for
operation at lower speeds, and rocket-based combined cycle (RBCC) engines supplement
a traditional rocket's propulsion with a scramjet, allowing for additional oxidizer to be
added to the scramjet flow.
RBCCs offer a possibility to extend a scramjet's operating range to higher speeds or
lower intake dynamic pressures than would otherwise be possible.

Advantages and disadvantages of scramjets

Special cooling and materials

Unlike a rocket that quickly passes mostly vertically through the atmosphere or a turbojet
or ramjet that flies at much lower speeds, a hypersonic airbreathing vehicle optimally
flies a "depressed trajectory", staying within the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds.
Because scramjets have only mediocre thrust-to-weight ratios, acceleration would be
limited. Therefore time in the atmosphere at hypersonic speed would be considerable,
possibly 15-30 minutes.

Similar to a reentering space vehicle, heat insulation from atmospheric friction would be
a formidable task. The time in the atmosphere would be greater than that for a typical
space capsule, but less than that of the space shuttle.
Therefore studies often plan on "active cooling", where coolant circulating throughout the
vehicle skin prevents it from disintegrating from the fiery atmospheric friction.
Active cooling could require more weight and complexity. There is also safety concern
since it's an active system.
Often, however, the coolant is the fuel itself, much in the same way that modern rockets
use their own fuel and oxidizer as coolant for their engines.
Both scramjets and conventional rockets are at risk in the event of a cooling failure.

Half an engine

The typical waverider scramjet concept involves, effectively, only half an engine. The
shockwave of the vehicle itself compresses the inlet gasses, forming the first half of the
engine. Likewise, only fuel (the light component) needs tankage, pumps, etc. This greatly
reduces craft mass and construction effort, but the resultant engine is still very much
heavier than an equivalent rocket or conventional turbojet engine of similar thrust.

Simplicity of design

Scramjets have few to no moving parts. Most of their body consists of continuous
surfaces. With simple fuel pumps, reduced total components, and the reentry system
being the craft itself, scramjet development tends to be more of a materials and modelling
problem than anything else.

Additional propulsion requirements

A scramjet cannot produce efficient thrust unless boosted to high speed, around Mach 5,
depending on design, although, as mentioned earlier, it could act as a ramjet at low
speeds. A horizontal take-off aircraft would need conventional turbofan or rocket engines
to take off, sufficiently large to move a heavy craft. Also needed would be fuel for those
engines, plus all engine associated mounting structure and control systems. Turbofan
engines are heavy and cannot easily exceed about Mach 2-3, so another propulsion
method would be needed to reach scramjet operating speed. That could be ramjets or
rockets. Those would also need their own separate fuel supply, structure, and systems.
Many proposals instead call for a first stage of droppable solid rocket boosters, which
greatly simplifies the design.


Pulsejet is a constant volume combustion device which is quite efficient only at low speeds and
uses unsteady combustion for its operation. Once the system is started, it works by taking in air
and fuel and combustion them during a part of the cycle and exhausting it during the next part of
the cycle. In order to promote and sustain the operation, a flapper device of metal or plastic, in
recent times, is used in front end.

Supersonic Diffuser
Super sonic diffuser may be divided into two separate parts: the supersonic inlet and the
subsonic diffuser. Although this division is a convenient one, it must be remembered that the
phenomena in the supersonic and subsonic parts of the diffuser can, and often do, interact.
It should be remembered that the higher the Mach number, the greater will be our percentage
loss in pressure across a normal shock. Thus, at very high mach numbers, there is an appreciable
difference between (1) isentropic compression through out and (2) compression with a normal
The limitations imposed by the losses associated with a normal shock at higher Mach numbers
stimulated the development of a modified simple inlet design which incorporates a spike or
wedge in the nose section of the diffuser.
The modified design utilizes the spike or wedge to produce an oblique shock at the nose
section, and, the mach number after an oblique shock are greater than one. Consequently, in
addition to the oblique shock, we have a normal shock near the minimum area section. The

compression after the normal shock is of the standard subsonic diffuser type; that is, an increase
in area decreases the velocity.
It might be asked why a diffuser which has two shock waves, namely, an oblique and a normal
shock, would give better results than a simple inlet which has only one normal shock. The reason
for this is that the losses across a series of weak shock are less than the losses across one or
several strong shocks. This means that the losses across the normal shock which follows the
oblique shock are considerably less than the losses across a normal shock in the free stream.
Increasing the number of oblique shocks before the normal shock reduces the losses through
the shock system. It must be noted that the complexity of the inlet also increases as the number
shocks increases. In addition to the number of shocks, the pressure losses are also function of the
shock arrangement. It may be noted that the maximum total pressure recovery occurs when the
total pressure recovery is the same across each of oblique shocks, and very nearly equal to that
across the final normal shock.

Mode of Supersonic Diffuser Operation

The three basic modes operation frequently referred to are subcritical operation, critical
operation, and supercritical operation. All these three inlets are operated at the design Mach
number, MD, which by definition, means that the conical shock or conical shock extended will
intersect the cowl lip.

At the subcritical operation, the normal shock is external and subsonic velocities exit at
the cowl.
For this condition mass-flow ratio based on capture area is less than one; spillage
exists; the inlet is not swallowing air at maximum capacity; pressure recovery is low
since some of the air goes through a single, near normal shock; inlet drag is high
because of the intense shock; operation is generally unstable and conducive to a
condition called buzz (normal shock moves in and out of the inlet at relatively high
frequencies). An important instability that occurs during the subcritical operation of
most supersonic inlets. This phenomenon, known as buzz, consists of a rapid
oscillation of the inlet shock and flow pattern; the resultant internal disturbance is very
detrimental to engine performance. In a ramjet, for instance, the onset of buzz usually
extinguishes combustion. Although the pulses of the shock system are similar, the
interval between pulses is not constant; hence buzz cannot be considered a periodic
phenomenon. Although it is not thoroughly understood, buzz has been shown to be a
function of conditions only at , and immediately downstream of, the inlet.
In general subcritical operation is unsatisfactory and should be avoided.
As the flow resistance downstream of the diffuser is increased, the mass-flow ratio can
be reduced to its limit value of 0 at which point no flow exits.
For critical operation, both maximum mass flow and ram recovery are attained for the
design Mach number; thus condition represents the optimum performance condition. It
has the disadvantage, however, of being, marginally unstable in actual applications

because small changes in angles of attack or yaw or boundary layer separation can
induce the critical mode of operation across the threshold into the subcritical regime.
Consequently, for actual operation it is usually better to operate the inlet in a more
stable condition, the supercritical regime.

Typical modes of inlet operation

The three basic modes operation frequently referred to aircraft inlets are subcritical operation,
critical operation, and supercritical operation, which are shown schematically for a typical case
in the above figure. With entirely diverging internal flow such as this, the normal shock position
is determined by a downstream flow restriction rather than by the inlet geometry. Hence
operating mode is sensitive to variations in exhaust-nozzle area and fuel flow rate. Subcritical
operation entails spilling of flow and a normal shock upstream of the inlet. Low and high
subcritical operations differ only in the extent of spilling. Supercritical operation occurs at the
same mass flow as critical operation, but with increased losses, since the normal shock occurs at
a higher Mach number. All these three inlets are operated at the design Mach number, MD, which
by definition, means that the conical shock or conical shock extended will intersect the cowl lip.

Ramjet Performance

The ramjet has the virtue of maximum simplicity, with no need for turbomachinery, and
maximum tolerance to high-temperature operation and minimum mass-per-unit thrust at suitable
flight Mach numbers. The ramjet also has its limitations. As well as being generally incapable of
steady operation at subsonic Mach numbers, it has an upper Mach number limit. For the
conventional ramjet (in which the supersonic inlet air is slowed to subsonic speeds to provide
stable combustion prior to the nozzle expansion), there is a limiting Mach number of about 6,
above which the temperature of the air entering the combustor is so high that combustion cannot
be completed. Most of the chemical energy of combustion is nonusefully transformed into
dissociation reactions that on expansion do not provide the exhaust velocity needed for
satisfactory ramjet performance. To avoid this problem, substantial research has been, and is still
being, focused on the supersonic combustion ramjet (SCRAMJET). The difference between this
and the conventional ramjet is that combustion is to take place in a supersonic stream. Fuel must
be injected into the supersonic stream (without causing disruptive shock waves) and must mix
and burn in a millisecond or so. Conventional fuels do not ignite quickly enough, and gaseous
hydrogen seems the most likely candidate. Design of the fuel injector is a formidable challenge;
so is the problem of cooling a vehicle designed to operate at Mach numbers of 4 or higher.
Hydrogen could conceivably serve for structural cooling as well as for engine fuel.
It will be clear from this discussion that future designs for supersonic (or even hypersonic)
aircraft must cope with the design challenges of a whole range of flight Mach numbers.

Supersonic Combustion
The losses associated with subsonic ramjet combustion can be substantial. If ramjets are to be
applied to hypersonic flight, additional problems arise because of extremely high temperature at
the entrance to the combustion chamber. This not only makes vehicle cooling very difficult, but
it leads to severe combustion loss due to dissociation.
Figure shows the air temperature reached after adiabatic deceleration from a high-altitude
ambient temperature of 220 K and from flight Mach number M to a chamber pressure of either 1
or 10 atm. For hypersonic flight (e.g. for M > 8) the temperature of the air in the chamber is quite
dependent on the pressure: The higher the pressure, the less dissociation and the higher the
temperature of the mixture. The temperature of the combustion products is likewise pressure
Figure shows, for a combustion pressure of 10 atm and a flight Mach number of 10, there
is no temperature rise due to combustion; all of the combustion energy is absorbed by
dissociation. One sees from the above Figure, the strange result that, at sufficiently high Mach
number, the temperature of the combustion products can be lower than that of the incoming air.
Consideration of the speed with which the fuel and air can be converted into dissociation
products may show that there is sufficient residence time in the combustion chamber to approach
equilibrium composition. But during the subsequent expansion in the nozzle, one cannot take
equilibrium composition for granted. It is quite possible that the expansion will be too rapid for
the composition to readjust, after each step of temperature and pressure reduction, to a new
equilibrium composition. If the expansion extremely rapid, the mixture may be effectively
frozen with the initial (high-temperature) composition. This would mean that little of the
combustion energy of the fuel (for the M = 10 case) would be available for acceleration of the
combustion products to produce thrust. The chemical kinetics of the recombination processes in
the nozzle would, in general, have a strong effect on the thrust and the propulsion efficiency of
the engine.
Some researchers have proposed the concept of the supersonic combustion as a way to avoid
this dissociation loss as well as the stagnation pressure losses associated with deceleration in
supersonic-to-subsonic inlets. With supersonic combustion, fluid temperatures are relatively low,
and this decreases the dissociation loss because dissociation depends on static rather than
stagnation temperature. Wall heat transfer, in contrast, depends essentially on stagnation
temperature, so the wall-cooling problem is not removed by employing supersonic combustion.
The stagnation pressure loss due to supersonic heating depends on the extent to which the fluid is
being accelerated while combustion is taking place.
The use of supersonic combustion requires fuel to be injected into, and mixed with, a
supersonic stream without excessive shock losses.

The main advantages of the ramjet engine are;


High temperature can be employed

In the absence of rotating machinery its construction is very simple and cheap
It can operate effectively at high supersonic Mach numbers
It is not very sensitive to the quality of fuel
It provides high thrust per unit weight and frontal area

Ramjet engines Main disadvantages are;


It requires a launching device at supersonic speed

It is unsuitable for subsonic flight
It has low thermal efficiency and high TSFC
Its maximum operating altitude is limited

Ideal Efficiency
Various process occurring in the ramjet engine can be represented by an open circuit Brayton
cycle. This cycle is considered here with the following assumptions:
1. Steady one-dimensional flow
2. Isentropic compression and expansion, s = 0, P0 = 0
3. Perfect gas
4. Constant pressure heat addition in the combustion chamber, P2 = P3
5. Very low Mach number in the combustion chamber.
P2 P02 P03
T2 T02 T03
Compression and expansion process here are thermodynamically different from turbo jet
engine. These process here experience only energy transformation; there is no energy
transfer such as compressor and turbine work within the engine. Thrust work is obtained
from the energy supplied in the fuel during process 2-3. Heat is rejected during process 41 outside the engine. However, the ideal efficiency of the ramjet engine is still given by

i = 1 = 1 ( 1) /
Here, the temperature ratio, with the above assumption is given by

t =

1 2
= 02 = 01 = 1 +

Substituting the value of t from the above Equation to the previous equation we get,

i = 1

i =

M 12

1 2
1 2

= f (M 1 )
2 1
1 M 12

Though the actual thermal efficiency of the ramjet engine will be much lower than the
value given by the above equation it demonstrates an important characteristic i.e., the
efficiency increases with the flight Mach number and has a high value (76.19 % at M1 =
4) at higher operating Mach numbers.
Other performance parameters and efficiencies defined for air-breathing engines are also
applicable for the ram jet engine.

The thermal efficiency or the Air standard Efficiency of the ideal cycle 1-2s-3-4s is given by,
= work / heat supplied
= 1 Qr/Qs
= 1 (T4s T1)/(T3-T2s)
The pressure ratio in the compressor and turbine is same,
i.e., r = P2/P1 = P3/P4
Therefore the corresponding temperature ratios are given by,

( 1) /


T2 s
= 3 = r ( 1) / = 2
T4 s


= 1 = 1 ( 1) /

= 3

( 1) /

Numerical Problem
Q. A ramjet

engine operates at M = 1.5 at an altitude of 6500 m. The diameter of the

inlet diffuser at entry is 50 cm and the stagnation temperature at the nozzle entry is 1600
K. The calorific value of the fuel used is 40 MJ/kg. The properties of the combustion
gases are same as those of air ( = 1.4, R = 287 J/kg K). The velocity of air at the diffuser
exit is negligible.
Calculate (a) the efficiency of the ideal cycle (b) flight speed (c) air flow rate (d) diffuser
pressure ratio (e) fuel-air ratio (f) nozzle pressure ratio (g) nozzle jet Mach number (h)
propulsive efficiency (i) and thrust. Assue the following values; D = 0.90, B = 0.98, j
= 0.96, stagnation pressure loss in the combustion chamber = 0.02P02.

At Z = 6500 m the properties of air are

T1 = 245.90 K, p1 = 0.440 bar, a1 = 414.5 m/s
= 0.624 kg/m3
(a) Ideal cycle efficiency

i =

2 1
1 M 12

= 0.310 Ans.
(b) M1 = u/a1
U = M1 a1 = 1.5 x 314.5 = 471.75 m/s
Flight speed = 1698.3 kmph Ans.
( C) Area of cross section of the diffuser inlet
A1 = d2/4 = 0.52/4 = 0.1963 m2

m a = 1uA1
= 0.624 X 471.48 X 0.1963
Air flow rate = 57.752 kg/s Ans.
(d) For negligible velocity at the diffuser exit,
P02 = P2

( 1) /



D =
1 2
D = 0.9, M1 = 1.5
P2/P1 = 3.2875


P2 = 3.2875 x 0.44 = 1.446


1 2
= 1+
M 1 = 1.45
= 1.45 x 245.9 = 356.55 K

m a C p (T03 T02 ) = B m f Q f

f =


= C p (T03 T02 ) / B Q f

f = 1.005 (1600-356.55)/0.98 x 40000

Fuel air ratio = 0.03188 Ans

(f) P03 = P02 0.02 P02 = 0.98 P02

= 0.98 x 1.446 = 1.417 bar
Nozzle pressure ratio,

P03 1.417
= 3.22 Ans
(g) The Mach number at the nozzle exit for a pressure ratio of 3.22 in an isentropic expansion
would be
M4s = 1.41; however, on account of irreversible expansion (j = 0.96) the exit
velocity and Mach number will be slightly lower.

1 2
M 4 s = 1 + 0.2 x 1.412 = 1.3976
T4 s
T4s = 1600/1.3976 = 1144.82 K
T04 T4 = j (T04-T4s)
= 0.96 (1600-1144.82)
= 1600 436.973 = 1163.027 K
T04 = T4 + C24/2Cp
C4 = 937.185 m/s
a4 = (1.4 x 287 x 1163.027)0.5
= 683.596 m/s
Nozzle jet Mach number,
M4 = C4/a4 = 937.185/683.596 = 1.371 Ans
(h) = u/c4 = 471.48/937.185 = 0.503
p = 2/(1+ ) = 2 x 0.503 /(1+0.503)

Propulsive efficiency = 0.6693 Ans


m f = 57.752 x 0.03188 = 1.841 kg / s

m = ma + m f = 57.752 + 1.841 = 59.593 kg / s

F = m C4 m a u
= (59.593 x 937.185 57.752 x 471.75) 10-3
Thrust = 28.614 kN Ans

Ram rocket
Air-augmented rockets

(also known as rocket-ejector, ramrocket, ducted

rocket, integral rocket/ramjets, or ejector ramjets) use the supersonic exhaust of some kind of
rocket engine to further compress air collected by ram effect during flight to use as additional
working mass, leading to greater effective thrust for any given amount of fuel than either the
rocket or a ramjet alone.
They represent a hybrid class of rocket/ramjet engines, similar to a ramjet, but able to give useful
thrust from zero speed, and are also able in some cases to operate outside the atmosphere, with
fuel efficiency not worse than both a comparable ramjet or rocket at every point.

A normal chemical rocket engine carries oxidizer and a fuel, sometimes pre-mixed, as in a solid
rocket, which are then burned. The heat generated greatly increases the temperature of the
mixture, which is then exhausted through a nozzle where it expands and cools. The exhaust is
directed rearward through the nozzle, thereby producing a thrust forward. In this conventional
design, the fuel/oxidizer mixture is both the working mass and energy source that accelerates it.
One method of increasing the overall performance of the system is to collect either the fuel or the
oxidizer during flight. Fuel is hard to come by in the atmosphere, but oxidizer in the form of
gaseous oxygen makes up 20% of the air and there are a number of designs that take advantage
of this fact. These sorts of systems have been explored in the LACE (liquid air cycle engine)

Another idea is to collect the working mass instead. With an air-augmented rocket, an otherwise
conventional rocket engine is mounted in the center of a long tube, open at the front. As the
rocket moves through the atmosphere the air enters the front of the tube, where it is compressed
via the ram effect. As it travels down the tube it is further compressed and mixed with the fuelrich exhaust from the rocket engine, which heats the air much as a combustor would in a ramjet.
In this way a fairly small rocket can be used to accelerate a much larger working mass than
normally, leading to significantly higher thrust within the atmosphere.
A liquid air cycle engine (LACE) is a spacecraft propulsion engine that attempts to gain
efficiency by gathering part of its oxidizer from the atmosphere. In a LOX/LH2 bipropellant
rocket the liquid oxygen needed for combustion is the majority of the weight of the spacecraft on
lift-off, so if some of this can be collected from the air on the way, it might dramatically lower
the take-off weight of the spacecraft.

Principle of operation
LACE works by compressing and then quickly liquefying the air. Compression is achieved
through the ram-air effect in an intake similar to that found on a high-speed aircraft like
Concorde, where intake ramps create shock waves that compress the air. The LACE design then
blows the compressed air over a heat exchanger, in which the liquid hydrogen fuel is flowing.
This rapidly cools the air, and the various constituents quickly liquefy. By careful mechanical
arrangement the liquid oxygen can be removed from the other parts of the air, notably water,
nitrogen and carbon dioxide, at which point it can be fed into the engine as normal. The
hydrogen is so much lighter than oxygen that the now-warm hydrogen is often dumped
overboard instead of being re-used as fuel, at a net gain.
One issue with the LACE system is that in order to appreciably reduce the mass of the oxygen
carried at launch, a LACE vehicle needs to spend more time in the lower atmosphere where it
can collect enough oxygen to supply the engines. This leads to greatly increased vehicle heating
and drag, which offset somewhat the savings in oxidizer weight, but this in turn is offset by
higher Isp (Specific impulse) permitting a lifting trajectory which greatly reduces gravity losses.
More significantly the LACE system is far heavier than a rocket engine, and the performance of
launch vehicles of all types is particularly affected by dry mass, rather than any oxidizer mass
which would be burnt off over the course of the flight.

Additional Reading:


Hill, P.G. & Peterson, C.R. Mechanics & Thermodynamics of Propulsion Addison Wesley
Longman INC, 1999.
Cohen, H., Rogers, G.F.C. and Saravanamuttoo, H.I.H., Gas Turbine Theory, Longman Co.,
ELBS Ed., 1989.
Gorden, C.V., Aero thermodynamics of Gas Turbine and Rocket Propulsion, AIAA Education
Series, New York, 1989.
Mathur, M., and Sharma, R.P., Gas Turbines and Jet and Rocket Propulsion, Standard
Publishers, New Delhi, 1988.