Influence of geometry on starting vortex and ejector performance

Fei Zheng, Andrey V. Kuznetsov, William L. Roberts, Daniel E. Paxson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


For many propulsion devices, the thrust may be augmented considerably by adding a passive ejector, and these devices are especially attractive for unsteady propulsion systems such as pulse detonation engines and pulsejets. Starting vortices from these unsteady devices dominate the flowfield and control to a great extent the level of the thrust augmentation. Therefore, it is of fundamental interest to understand the geometric influences on the starting vortex and how these manifest themselves in augmenter/ejector performance. An unsteady Reynolds averaged Navier-Stokes calculation was used to study the physics of a starting vortex generated at the exit of a pulsed jet and its interaction with an ejector. A 50 cm long pulsejet (typical hobby scale, allowing comparison with experimental data) with a circular exit was modeled as the resonant driving source and used to suggest an optimal ejector geometry and relative position. Computed limit-cycle thrust augmentation values compared favorably to experimentally obtained values for the same ejector geometries. Results suggest that the optimal diameter of the ejector is related to its relative position, dictated by the trajectory of the vortex toroid. The effect of the length of the ejector (which determines the natural frequency of the ejector, related to the acoustic processes occurring in the ejector) on overall performance was also investigated and shown to be less important than the ejector diameter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number051204
JournalJournal of Fluids Engineering, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • constant volume combustion
  • ejector
  • numerical simulation
  • pulsejet
  • thrust argumentation
  • vortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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