Shock Waves pp 75-86 | Cite as

Some perspectives on pulse detonation propulsion systems

  • F. K. Lu
  • D. R. Wilson
Conference paper


Pulse detonation engines and rockets (PDE/Rs) can potentially revolutionize air breathing and rocket propulsion [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. While the PDE concept is over five decades old, it has recently enjoyed renewed interest, due mostly to theoretical and computational studies indicating high cycle efficiencies. When modeled by a constant volume, Humphrey cycle, the detonation engine is found to be superior to that of existing constant pressure, Brayton cycles, with claims of as much as 10–40% improvement in specific impulse [4,7, 8, 9]. The constant volume process is derived from the Zeldovich-von Neumann-Döring (ZND) model of the detonation wave as a high strength shock wave, followed by a region of chemical reaction and a subsequent isentropic rarefaction. Amongst other advantages of the PDE is simplicity, where the PDE is easy to manufacture and requires few moving parts, with the possibility of eliminating high-pressure pumps in rocket applications, or reducing turbomachinery stages in air-breathing propulsion systems.


Detonation Wave Propulsion System AIAA Paper Specific Impulse Ignition Energy 
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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. K. Lu
    • 1
  • D. R. Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Aerodynamics Research Center, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering DepartmentUniversity of Texas at ArlingtonArlingtonUSA

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