Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Frederick R. Schauer, PhD


The Rotating Detonation Engine (RDE) has been researched extensively in recent years, but the minimum size limits of an RDE have not been well investigated. The goal of this research was to build an RDE small enough to produce a detonation frequency above 20 kHz with a single detonation wave while also reducing the engine's mass ow rate. An engine with these design characteristics would reduce hazards associated with previous RDE testing. This research objective resulted in the design of an RDE with an outer diameter sized at 28 mm using ethylene and nitrous oxide as a fuel and oxidizer. The engine was tested over a range of equivalence ratios between 0.5-1.5 and at mass ow rates of 0.025-0.075 kg/s to characterize its operation. Key design parameters were the injection hole diameter, detonation channel gap, detonation channel length, and detonation channel diameter. Detonation was achieved in an RDE of this scale, which proved operability of an engine with these design characteristics was possible.

AFIT Designator