Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Paul I. King, PhD


Current research by the US Air Force and Navy is concentrating on obtaining detonations in a pulse detonation engine (PDE) with low vapor pressure, kerosene based jet fuels. These fuels have a low vapor pressure and the performance of a liquid hydrocarbon fueled PDE is significantly hindered by the presence of fuel droplets. A high pressure, fuel flash vaporization system (FVS) has been designed and built to reduce and eliminate the time required to evaporate the fuel droplets. Four fuels are tested: n-heptane, isooctane, aviation gasoline, and JP-8. The fuels vary in volatility and octane number and present a clear picture on the benefits of flash vaporization. Results show the FVS quickly provided a detonable mixture for all of the fuels tested without coking or clogging the fuel lines. Combustion results validated the model used to predict the fuel and air temperatures required to achieve gaseous mixtures with each fuel. The most significant achievement of the research was the detonation of flash vaporized JP-8 and air. The results show that the flash vaporized JP-8 used 20 percent less fuel to ignite the fuel air mixture twice as fast (8 ms from 16 ms) when compared to the unheated JP-8 combustion data.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number