Advancements in rocket propulsion system development evolve through the use of safe, reliable and cost-effective ground tests that reduce space propulsion system risk. The maintenance and improvement of essential ground test facilities that replicate launch and staging environments represent investments that enable meeting National space exploration and commercial use goals. Innovative software tools that offer improved analysis methods for minimizing program test cost, time and risk while meeting environmental and safety regulations and are thus necessary for supporting state-of-the-art propulsion system test facilities. The deleterious environment experienced by test structures and components during rocket engine tests may be mitigated by a water suppression system which rapidly injects a large volume of water into the rocket plume to reduce thermal and acoustic loads. The proposed innovation offers improved techniques for analyzing water suppression mitigation by developing a collection of specialized numerical approaches that accurately capture and handle the behavior of the gas/liquid water interface during water injection. The proposed approach will improve predictions across a range of scales to model more accurately the liquid jet behavior and its transition to droplets and vapor (to address thermal loading) and its interaction with shocks and turbulent eddies (for acoustic loading). The advanced tools proposed here offer the ability to design and analyze water suppression systems and the resulting spray patterns to reduce significantly facility maintenance and operating costs while improving safety, reliability and environmental impact.
Advanced water suppression analysis techniques for propulsion systems ground test facilities offer the potential for reductions in facility maintenance and test costs, improvements in platform and test hardware load predictions and more extensive environmental assessments. The proposed liquid injection analysis tool is also applicable to liquid rocket engines and spray coating processes.
The ability to robustly model complex liquid injection and gas/liquid interface dynamics will allow the commercial aerospace and defense industries to improve design and development of new products involving injection and spray processes. Our analysis software can also be applied to liquid rocket engines, spray coating processes and biomedical applications.