Solid Rocket Propulsion
The Solid Six are the team within DARE specialising in solid rocket propulsion and have existed as a team since 2009. A large portion of DARE’s rockets has been launched using DARE’s internally developed solid rocket engines.
Since its founding, the team has created a body of knowledge with regards to the development and testing of solid rocket motors. Over the years, the team has developed numerous engines, many of which have been launched in rockets. These include the reliable Small Rocket Project and DX-1 engines, the latter of which are used in the CanSat and ACT rockets, as well as the two stage engine for Stratos I.
The teams perform a range of work, from the development of our own solid propellant, ALAN-7, (an Ammonium-nitrate and Aluminium based propellant), to the design, manufacturing and testing of engines of a range of sizes.
Over the past year, the Solid Six have worked to develop our biggest and most powerful solid engine yet, the DXS Asimov (DARE experiment solid ‘Asimov’). The engine was designed for implementation in the Aether-launcher, one of DARE’s technology demonstrators intended to fly at supersonic speeds. This engine was developed using Kalinidex (“Rocket Candy”), which uses sorbitol as a fuel and potassium nitrate as an oxidizer.
As part of the development of the engine, the team has explored and tested a larger glass-fibre engine casing, a new nozzle design, manufactured from pertinax and aluminium, and a new igniter. This igniter consists of a commercial ammonium perchlorate grain housed in a 3D printed basket, a pyro-bolt and two squibs.
One of the main improvements from the previous engine, the Leonidas-5, was with respect to the start-up transient. This was done using the new igniter design and the optimised nozzle design, which saw the thrust curve made steeper and the specific impulse increased.
Several single grain motor (SGM) and igniter tests were performed successfully, which were used to improve the efficiency of the motor and its burn parameters. The tests were then scaled up to a full-scale motor (FSM). The FSM was the final design for the DXS-Asimov, containing 7 propellant grains, each weighing approximately 4.6 kg, and measuring roughly 2 m long. Unfortunately, these tests were not successful, and as such, the team is currently reanalyzing the design. This will be done by improving our knowledge of the propellant Kalinidex, or by exploring the possibilities of other propellants, as well a working to improve our simulation tool and validate our calculations.
This work will improve the reliability and performance of our engines and will aid the development of a full-scale motor which may be implemented in a future model of the Aether Rocket.
|DXS Asimov FSM
||DXS Asimov SGM
Joël van der Lee
Yoram Hoogterp (Advisory Position)
Thimo van den Berg
Jeije van den Wijngaart
Katy Blyth (Team Leader)