Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Paul I. King, PhD


The objective of this research was to evaluate the feasibility of using the triggered decay of a radioactive isomer in a solid-state heat exchanger to power a gas turbine engine. Primary performance measures were stagnation temperature increase and stagnation pressure drop across the heat exchanger. Analysis was performed using commercial software, and explored three types of heat exchanger: concentric tubes, radial fins with constant spacing, and radial fins with constant thickness. All met or exceeded performance of the baseline J-57 turbojet engine at static sea level conditions. A single configuration of heat exchanger, using concentric tubes, was evaluated at typical in-flight conditions, up to 45,000 ft and Mach 0.8. At every flight condition, the heat exchanger was capable of delivering higher turbine inlet temperatures than the engine required for full-throttle operation at that flight condition. Performance trends in heat exchanger design were evaluated as they affected this application.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number