Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Marc D. Polanka, PhD.


As small, Remotely Piloted Aircraft become more prevalent as aerial observation platforms in the modern era, there will continue to be a desire to improve their capabilities. The lowered pressures associated with high altitude have an adverse impact on the performance of the small engines that are commonly used to propel small aircraft. The most desirable method of recovering the performance lost as a result of engine operation at high altitude is the integration of a forced induction device. Due to its unique characteristics, a special type of wave rotor called a Pressure Wave Supercharger has the potential to avoid many scaling-related losses, allowing it to operate efficiently as a forced induction device for very small engines. This thesis outlines the successful design and computational simulations performed in the development of a Pressure Wave Supercharger for a 95 cc Brison engine. A NASA quasi one-dimensional CFD code was used to produce computational predictions for the performance of a Comprex Pressure Wave Supercharger and compare these predictions against the measured performance. This code was then used to design a scaled down version of the Comprex for use on the 95 cc Brison engine. This design was modeled using Computer Aided Design and the parts were manufactured. A test rig was also designed for the purpose of testing the scaled Pressure Wave Supercharger. This device will improve the performance of small two-stroke engines flying at high altitudes by boosting the intake manifold pressure back to one standard atmosphere or better. This will allow very small unmanned aerial systems operated by the Air Force to function at higher altitudes, thus improving their capabilities and mission effectiveness.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number