Pulse detonation engines [RE: SRL or RE: JATO]

Joe Barrera (joebar@MICROSOFT.com)
Tue, 6 Oct 1998 19:00:34 -0700

Someone mentioned JATO engines (again) and it reminded me of something you
mentioned about Survival Research Labs back in 1994...

> SRL is soliciting information on how to make pulse detonation engines
> and are promising to make a flying saucer if they can. (pulse
> detonation engines, if they exist, are highly classified).

I just did a search on pulse detonation engines and it looks like they are
no longer highly classified...


Pulse detonation technology takes advantage of the gasdynamic and
thermodynamic processes associated with detonative combustion for use in
propulsive systems, energy conversion, materials production, waste disposal,
and thermal coatings applications. The technology is based upon the rapid
combustion via a detonation wave of a pre-mixed fuel/ oxidizer mixture
contained in a tube which is open at one end and closed at the other. The
fuel/oxidizer mixture is introduced at the closed end and is detonated once
the tube is completely filled. The detonation produces a high pressure and
temperature reservoir of combustion products which may be used in a variety
of manners. Once the high pressure combustion products have expanded out the
open end, the process is repeated in a rapid, cyclical manner, producing a
quasi-steady flow of high pressure and temperature combustion products.

Potential Commercial Uses
* Efficient coal combustors for power generation
* Efficient natural gas combustors for power generation
* Advanced materials synthesis techniques for production of ceramics
* Advanced thermal coating techniques for high wear, high temperature
* Advanced hazardous waste disposal techniques

* Significant improvements in efficiency over current or proposed
combustion concepts
* Energy conversion applications take advantage of the increased cycle
efficiency which translates into potential reductions in energy costs
* The potential to produce superior thermal coatings over present
* Low cost, high quality ceramic materials synthesis
* High temperature combustion products can be utilized to thermally
break down hazardous waste materials in an efficient manner

The Technology

Pulse detonation technology is currently being developed by Adroit Systems,
Inc. (ASI) for various defense applications. Based on the use of detonative
combustion, pulse detonation technology utilizes its inherent advantages to
provide higher efficiency propulsion and energy conversion systems, and
produces superior ceramic materials, and thermal coatings over current

A new and unique Pulse Detonation Engine concept which has application to a
variety of systems including Single Stage to Orbit, Multi-Stage to Orbit,
Horizontal Takeoff to Orbit vehicles, as well as many other airbreathing and
rocket. Compared to current or proposed systems, pulse detonation engines
are more fuel efficient, possess higher thrust to weight and thrust to
frontal area ratio's, and are relatively mechanically simple.

Currently the propulsion system applications are being investigated by ASI
through a series of SBIR Phase I and Phase II contracts through NASA and
various other government agencies. Experimental testing of the pulse
detonation engine has been carried out and prototype pulse detonation engine
(PDE) components and systems are presently being developed and tested. The
application of pulse detonation technology to materials synthesis is
currently being demonstrated by ASI through a SBIR Phase I program.

Options for Commercialization

This technology opportunity is being developed under NASA SBIR funding. ASI
has been granted several United States patents on various elements of the
PDE design. ASI is currently looking for a partner in the fields of energy
conversion, materials synthesis and thermal coatings.

If your company is interested in this technology, or if you desire
additional information, please contact:

Dr. Thomas R. A. Bussing
ASI, 411 108th Ave. NE, Suite 1080
Bellevue, WA 98004
Phone: 206-450-3930
Fax: 206-450-9334