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Design and Analysis of a High Speed, High Pressure Peroxide/RP-1 Turbopump


In the past, hydrogen peroxide bipropellant rocket engines were reserved for limited performance applications such as propulsion for rocket-assisted take-off (RATO) or sounding rockets due to the use of pressure-fed propellants or low-performance turbopump cycles. However, research performed at Purdue University has indicated silver screen catalyst beds used to decompose hydrogen peroxide can operate at much higher bed loadings and pressures than previously believed. Thus, leveraging modern technology to substantially increase the performance of such engines, a single-shaft, radial turbine, centrifugal impeller turbopump has been designed to deliver high-pressure hydrogen peroxide and RP-1 to a compact and lightweight 5,000 lbf rocket engine. The turbopump is extraordinarily small and fast, fitting within a 150 in3 envelope, spinning at 90,000 RPM, and delivering propellants at pressures close to 6,000 psig. Benchmarked against the Bristol-Siddeley 605 RATO engine, the developed engine delivers a 50% greater thrust-to-weight ratio, confirming that modern technology and design tools can be used to produce rocket engines that greatly outperform heritage systems of similar configuration.

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