A review on the analysis and application of RS-25 cryogenic engine used in NASA’s typical space missions – Astrophysics

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The cryogenic propulsion technology consists of Liquid Hydrogen (-253°C) and Liquid Oxygen (-183°C). The Newton’s third law of motion is used as a basic principle. This is the only engine that gives 100% efficiency and without any greenhouse gas, vapors emissions. This engine gives a trust of 15000 lb. This thrust can be increased to a greater extent if a proper research is carried on this technology.

When these fuels are mixed at their cryogenic temperatures they give out huge energy which can be utilized. Especially liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LO2) cryogenic propellants dramatically increased NASA’s and ISRO’s ability to explore the solar system due to their superior specific impulse capability. These cryogenic propellants can be very difficult to manage also store, cryogenic engines are advantageous over traditional hypergolic propulsion systems and are therefore enabled for many planetary science missions.

A beautiful engine namely, RS-25 took its birth in 1960, the engine produces a specific impulse which is higher in a vacuum, and the RS-25 operates at temperatures ranging from 253 °C to 3300 °C.

For RS-25, regenerative cooling is used for nozzle and MCC. The use of advanced insulation and low thermal conductivity support structures will allow for the long-term storage and use of cryogenic propellants for solar system exploration and hence allows NASA to deliver more payloads in comparison with the present generation of advancements. Targets of interest launch on smaller and less expensive launch vehicles, or both.

Also, the resulting elastoplastic deformation in the combustion chamber at cyclic thermal and mechanical loading is being analyzed and a solution strategy has been developed. This is applied to the prediction of the heat transfer and thermomechanical load-induced deformation process. It is seen that this mechanism significantly reduces the lifetime of the rocket engine.

Besides the conceptual design by the engineer, a mathematical and theoretical study is necessary in optimization to compare with finite element analysis, to increase the life of a engine, the optimization method is used, which allows the improvement of a basic design and reduction in the design variables such as plastic strain and stress, temperature.

© Akshay Kumar [2017]

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