Many new types of rocket engines are currently being developed. One of them - the rotating detonation rocket engine recently succeeded in initial experiments.
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We want to reach the stars. But our current progress in developing rocket technologies is not exactly stellar. Yet, we are seeing new types of rocket engines that could find their use in future rockets and spaceships. One of these advanced rocket engines is being developed by a team of scientists and engineers led by Kareem Ahmed from the University of Central Florida.
Ahmed and his team developed a rotating detonation rocket engine. This engine should find its use in the later stages of rockets allowing them to be less massive while being more powerful. The researchers have already proven in the first experiments that the explosion of fuel and oxidant works and is safe.
When the rotating detonation engine works the explosions inside are continuous. These explosions create bursts of energy that move at roughly 5 times the speed of sound. The tough solid construction of the engine made from copper and brass. The technology has been studied since the sixties but its development was not very successful because of the chemicals used and how they were mixed in the engine.
The rotating detonation rocket engine uses an alternative way of burning fuel. It is made by concentric cylinders between which the fuel flows. After the fuel gets ignited it creates a supersonic shockwave. Then, stable pulses of burning that create the needed pressure and temperature.
This type of engine uses much less fuel compared to a traditional rocket engine. It produces more thrust while needing less energy. The rotating detonating engine is lighter, its construction is simpler, it produces less emission, and most importantly it decreases the costs of going to space.
Ahmed and his colleagues observed the experiments in great detail using advanced analytic devices. They injected a tracking substance into the hydrogen fuel and then they observed how the fuel moves and its detonations using a slow-motion camera. The researchers are happy that their research has been a success so its results are going to be used in the development of this incredible engine.
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