Lasers ignition of propellants offers a number of advantages as compared to existing ignition systems. The maturity and miniaturization of laser ignition devices have paved the way from laboratory experiments demonstrating the basic principle to component/subsystem validation at subscale conditions. In the frame of the proposed work the technology of laser ignition of liquid rocket engines is addressed in four major aspects:
1. System Aspects of Laser Ignition: The requirements for lasers and laser ignition will be defined for a baseline application in a cryogenic upper stage operated with LOX/H2. Two concepts will be considered. In the first concept ignition is achieved by focusing the laser inside the main combustion chamber to initiate combustion. The second concept is to use a laser to ignite a torch igniter.
2. Technologies for Igniter and Laser Systems: Small-size laser systems for ignition applications will be selected and adapted for the application in rocket combustion chambers. Design solutions to harden the optical setup against acoustical, vibrational, and thermal loads will be investigated.
3. Phenomenology of the Ignition Transient under Conditions Representative for In-Chamber Ignition with a Multi-Injector Head: The ignition and flame stabilization transient will be investigated in a research combustor with optical access. High-speed visualization techniques will contribute to a detailed understanding how the location and time of ignition affects the ignition reliability and the ignition pressure peak.
4. Demonstration of Laser Ignition: A subscale chamber together and a laser ignition system will be designed and manufactured. The technology of laser ignition will be proven by validating and demonstrating the re-ignition capability and performing pulsed operation of the subscale combustor. The robustness of the laser igniter system against vibrational and thermal loads typical for the application will be shown.
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