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 to enable meeting National space exploration and commercial use goals. Innovative software tools that offer improved analysis methods for minimizing test cost, time, and risk while meeting environmental and safety regulations are necessary for supporting the use of 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 treat the behavior of the gas/liquid interface during water injection. The present 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 being developed here offer the ability to design and analyze water suppression systems and related test components to reduce significantly facility maintenance and operating costs while improving safety, reliability, and environmental effects.
Dynamic gas/liquid interface capturing and tracking will provide NASA with a robust water suppression prediction tool. The analysis framework will improve water nozzle placement and spray pattern optimization by reducing thermal and acoustic loading. Technology extensions include liquid fuel injection, evaporation and condensation, and liquid shock interaction modeling. The liquid injection analysis tool is also applicable to spray coating processes.
Coupled multi-physics analyses are opening significant new markets as more difficult problems can be addressed using advanced computational techniques. The framework for prediction of complex liquid injection and gas/liquid interface dynamics has application in liquid rocket engines, spray coating processes, and biomedical research.