Thermoacoustics of Future Hybrid Rocket Engines

Imperial College London

PhD Fixed Term London, UK

Uploaded 17 Dec 2019

Job Description

Applications are invited for a research studentship in the thermoacoustics of future hybrid rocket engines, leading to the award of a PhD degree. The post is supported by a bursary and fees (at the UK/EU student rate) provided by the EPSRC and Reaction Engines as a CASE award. Candidates should fulfil the eligibility criteria for the award. Please check your suitability at the following web site:

Reaction Engines Ltd is currently developing the SABRE engine, an air-breathing rocket engine designed to power the SKYLON spaceplane up to Mach 5 and transition into rocket mode to reach low-earth orbit. The main novel component of the engine is the pre-cooler, which cools the incoming hot air, allowing the energy extracted to power the engine turbomachinery. At low speeds, the absence of intake shock waves means an extra heat source is required to supply this energy. This is the role of a component known as the pre-burner; a hydrogen flame heats incoming air to provide extra heat through a heat exchanger.

The objective of this studentship is to develop computational tools to study the thermoacoustic stability of the pre-burner. Thermoacoustic instability is caused by a positive feedback between acoustic waves and unsteady heat release rate and/or unsteady heat transfer. It is undesirable as it leads to high amplitude pressure oscillations. Analytical models for the acoustic impedance of heat exchanger tubes in co-flow will be developed. Unsteady CFD simulations of the flame and heat exchanger tubes will be performed, allowing models for the unsteady response of these components to be extracted. The constituent models will be coupled into a unified computational tool that will be able to offer design guidance for instability avoidance.

You will be an enthusiastic and self-motivated person who meets the academic requirements for enrolment for the PhD degree at Imperial College London. You will have a 1st class honours degree in engineering or a related subject, strong background in fluid mechanics and an enquiring and rigorous approach to research. An interest in acoustics, heat transfer and computational fluid dynamics is essential, as are good team-working and communication skills.

To find out more about research at Imperial College London in this area, go to:

For information on how to apply, go to:

For further details of the post contact Prof Aimee Morgans [email protected]. Interested and eligible applicants should send an up-to-date curriculum vitae to Prof Aimee Morgans. Suitable candidates will be required to complete an electronic application form at Imperial College London in order for their qualifications to be addressed by College Registry. 

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