Combined numerical and experimental investigation of a hobby-scale pulsejet

T. Geng*, A. Kiker, R. Ordon, A. V. Kuznetsov, T. F. Zeng, William Roberts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The pulsejet, due to its simplicity, may be an ideal micro propulsion system, but has received very little attention since the mid 1950's. Here, modern computational and experimental tools are used to investigate the operation of a hobby scale (50 cm overall length) pulsejet. Gas dynamics, acoustics and chemical kinetics are all involved and are studied to gain an understanding of the various physical phenomena affecting pulsejet operation, scaleability and efficiency. A Bailey Machining Service (BMS) hobby pulsejet is instrumented to obtain pressure, temperature, thrust, and frequency. CH chemiluminescence is utilized to determine combustion time and high speed imaging of the reed valve operation is undertaken to determine the valve duty cycle. Laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV) has been used to measure the instantaneous exhaust velocity in these unsteady combustion devices. Numerical simulations are performed utilizing CFX to model the 3-D compressible vicious flow in the pulsejet using the integrated Westbrook-Dryer single step combustion model. The turbulent flow and reaction rate are modeled with the kε model and the Eddy Dissipation Model (EDM), respectively. Simulation results provide physical insight into the pulsejet cycle; comparisons with experimental data obtained in this research are carried out. The traditional view of a pulsejet as a 1/4 wave tube operating on the Humphrey cycle is modified with to account for valve operation and finite chemical kinetics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005
Event41st AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit - Tucson, AZ, United States
Duration: Jul 10 2005Jul 13 2005


Other41st AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityTucson, AZ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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