Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Paul I. King, PhD


A pulse detonation engine (PDE) capitalizes on the large mass flux and pressure rise associated with detonations to create thrust, which is proportional to PDE cycle frequency. This research showed that using a branched detonation as an ignition source, as opposed to standard spark ignition, deposits more energy into the thrust tube head. The increase in energy decreases ignition delay and detonation to deflagration transition (DDT) time. This allows a theoretical 85% cycle frequency increase that is accompanied by an 85% increase in thrust. The increase in energy also reduces the need for a DDT enhancement device, thereby increasing thrust as much as 30%. While detonation branching has been accomplished using gaseous hydrogen, this was the first instance of detonation branching using liquid hydrocarbon fuel.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number