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Pistonless Dual Chamber Rocket Fuel Pump


For performance, a rocket must have large, lightweight propellant tanks ... NASA. Fastrac. TRW. Low Cost Pintle Engine. Beal. BA 810. Microcosm. Scorpius ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Pistonless Dual Chamber Rocket Fuel Pump

Pistonless Dual Chamber Rocket Fuel Pump
  • Steve Harrington, Ph.D.
  • 4-02-03

LOX/Jet-A Pressure Fed Design Working Well
Whats Next? More Altitude!
The Problem is Mass Ratio How to Make a
Lightweight, Inexpensive Rocket with a Large Fuel
  • For performance, a rocket must have large,
    lightweight propellant tanks
  • Pressure fed tanks are heavy and/or expensive and
    safety margins cost too much in terms of
  • Turbopumps require massive engineering effort and
    are expensive.
  • The solution is the The Dual Pistonless Pump
  • Simple to design and manufacture and with
    performance comparable to a turbopump

  • Discuss basic pump design concept
  • Introduce latest pump innovations
  • List pump advantages over turbopump and pressure
    fed systems.
  • Present pump test results
  • Derive calculation of pump thrust to weight ratio
    which show that a LOX/RP-1 pump has a T/W of over

First Generation Design
  • Drain the main tank at low pressure into a small
  • Pressurize the small chamber and feed to the
  • Run two in parallel, venting and filling one
    faster than the other is emptied

More info at www. rocketfuelpump.com
Second Generation Design
  • Main chamber vents and fills quickly through
    multiple check valves.
  • One main chamber and one auxiliary chamber,
    less weight than two chambers of equal size
  • Pump fits in tank, simplified plumbing
  • Concentric design maintains balance.
  • Model has been built and tested (patent pending)

  • Much lighter than pressure fed system at similar
  • At one to two orders of magnitude lower
    engineering and manufacturing cost than
  • Low weight, comparable to turbopump.
  • Quick startup, shutdown. No fuel used during
    spool up.
  • Can be run dry. No minimum fuel requirement.
  • Less than 10 moving parts. Inherent reliability.
  • Inexpensive materials and processes.
  • Negligible chance of catastrophic failure.
  • Scalable, allows for redundant systems.

Engineering Cost Dual Pistonless Pump
  • Check Valves
  • Level Sensors
  • Pressure vessels
  • These parts are available off the shelf
  • Control System (microprocessor or logic circuit)

Pump model made from industrial/consumer parts 4
MPa, 1.2 kg/sec, 7 kg
Engineering cost Turbopumps
  • Fluid Dynamics of rotor/stator
  • Bearings
  • Seals
  • Cavitation
  • Heat transfer
  • Thermal shock
  • Rotor dynamics
  • Startup
  • Shut down

Development Issues
  • Pressure Spikes in output may require accumulator
    or valve timing adjustment
  • Currently uses slightly more gas than pressure
    fed system. can use less with pressurant heating.
  • Not invented here.
  • No experience base, must be static tested and

Pump Performance
  • Pump performance close to target of 1.5 kg/sec at
    4 Mpa
  • Pressure spikes have been reduced. Requires more
  • Pump chamber vents and pressurizes more quickly
    when running on Helium
  • Pump needs to be tested with LN2 and Jet-A

Pump running on compressed air at room
temperature, pumping water.
Pistonless Pump Mass Calculation
Chamber Mass
Spherical Chamber Volume and Diameter
Combine Equations to get Chamber Mass as a
function of flow rate
Chamber Thickness in terms of fuel pressure and
maximum stress
Pistonless Pump Thrust to weight Ratio
Thrust for Ideal Expansion
  • Assumptions
  • Auxiliary chamber is 1/4 the size of main chamber
  • Valves and ullage add 25 to mass
  • Total pump mass is 1.252 or1.56 times main
    chamber mass 1/(1.561.5).43

Pump thrust to weight
Typical Pump Thrust/Weight Calculations
  • Rocket Chamber Pressure 4 MPa
  • Pump cycle time 5 seconds.
  • Sea level Specific Impulse from Huang and Huzel ,
  • Pump Chambers are 2219 aluminum, 350 MPa design
    yield strength, 2.8 specific gravity

Conclusions/ Future Plans
  • Pump weight and cost are low and it works as
  • Next steps
  • Static test and fly pump with Flometrics rocket
  • Combine with low cost ablative engines and low
    cost vehicles for low cost access to space.

NASA Fastrac
Beal BA 810
TRW Low Cost Pintle Engine
Microcosm Scorpius
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