New Injector Tested For Hypersonic Engine

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A team of engineers in Maryland has developed a scramjet engine design that they say solves the problem of how to mix fuel efficiently in an aircraft that might be traveling as fast as Mach 25 (that's not a typo). Faculty members from the University of Maryland teamed with Astrox Corp. to develop the combustor design. Astrox President Ajay Kothari said the engine is shaped like a funnel, with air entering through a circular opening, which develops more thrust and less heating than a rectangular scramjet engine. Kothari and the research team designed an injector resembling a small aerodynamic wing, which enters the engine at an angle in the same direction the air is flowing. Fuel is injected just at the wake where the air, which is moving at supersonic speeds, crosses the injector. The novel design provides both strong thrust and good mixing. The researchers have tested the design at Mach 2 in the university's supersonic wind tunnel. Kothari plans to try out the technology in a small model space plane. "Hypersonic space planes could revolutionize the transportation industry, much like jet planes did for subsonic commercial aviation 50 years ago," Kothari said.