Deimos Methane-Oxygen Rocket Engine Test Results

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S. Engelen; L. J. Souverein; D. J. Twigt (2009), JBIS, 62, 211-218

Refcode: 2009.62.211
Keywords: DARE, DEIMOS, methane, student projects, rocket engine, amateur altitude record, design, tests

This paper presents the results of the first DEIMOS Liquid Methane/Oxygen rocket engine test campaign. DEIMOS is an acronym for `Delft Experimental Methane Oxygen propulsion System'. It is a project performed by students under the auspices of DARE (Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering). The engine provides a theoretical design thrust of 1800 N and specific impulse of 287 s at a chamber pressure of 40 bar with a total mass flow of 637 g/s. It has links to sustainable development, as the propellants used are one of the most promising so-called `green propellants'-combinations, currently under scrutiny by the industry, and the engine is designed to be reusable. This paper reports results from the provisional tests, which had the aim of verifying the engine's ability to fire, and confirming some of the design assumptions to give confidence for further engine designs. Measurements before and after the tests are used to determine first estimates on feed pressures, propellant mass flows and achieved thrust. These results were rather disappointing from a performance point of view, with an average thrust of a mere 3.8% of the design thrust, but nonetheless were very helpful. The reliability of ignition and stability of combustion are discussed as well. An initial assessment as to the reusability, the flexibility and the adaptability of the engine was made. The data provides insight into (methane/oxygen) engine designs, leading to new ideas for a subsequent design. The ultimate goal of this project is to have an operational rocket and to attempt to set an amateur altitude record.

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