Riley Huff

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Marc D. Polanka, PhD.


Current power generators consume a large portion of the aircrafts usable volume and they are also extremely heavy for the amount of power that they can produce. Therefore, a need for compact, lightweight Auxiliary Power Units (APU) with high power density has arisen. A novel solution to this problem comes in the form of coupling a Rotating Detonation Engine (RDE) with a turbine generator. A new type of RDE referred to as the Radial Rotating Detonation Engine (RRDE) has been developed to fill this need. This project marks the first radial ow RDE successfully operated in the United States, and also serves as the first instance of this layout being used for power extraction. Operation of the RRDE showed a possible shifting in the location of the detonation wave within the channel, which could improve the operability of the device. Finally, as an APU, the RRDE showed significant increases in power density, up to 10x, over conventional gas turbine based APUs. This development opens up a new opportunity for the Air Force to rapidly generate power with a high power density APU for use in various applications such as airborne directed energy weapons.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number