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Tesla-Valve-inspired Injection Manifold Design Could Improve Performance of Rotating Detonation Engines

Feb. 28, 2024
Researchers are testing an injection manifold design that prevents the reversal of fuel and oxidizer flows.

Researchers at Purdue University's College of Engineering are conducting tests on a patented Tesla valve-inspired injection manifold design to improve the efficiency of rotating detonation engines (RDEs) used in jet and rocket propulsion.

RDEs offer higher efficiency by converting chemical energy into thrust at supersonic speeds, but they face stability issues, such as the reversal of fuel and oxidizer flows, which can lead to power loss and system damage, according to a press release.

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Li Qiao, a professor in Purdue University’s College of Engineering, says that RDEs convert chemical energy into thrust, with a flame traveling through the engine at supersonic speed, which can be 10 times faster than in a traditional engine.

“RDEs are much more efficient than traditional engines by consuming less fuel and achieving high power of thrust in much less time,” Qiao said. “An RDE has no moving parts—turbines or compressors—which makes it less complex and less expensive to manufacture.”

The new injection manifold design, based on Tesla valve principles, aims to sustain stable shock waves in RDEs by preventing reverse flow, enhancing thrust generation. Initial tests show promising results with minimal flow returning to the inlet, highlighting the potential of this innovation for commercial and defense engine applications.

The design has been patented and is open for further collaboration with industry partners and government agencies to advance its integration into existing engine systems.

READ MORE: Purdue Researchers Develop New Approach to Grow Thin Electronics Films

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