Hydrazine Monopropellant Reciprocating Engine Development

[+] Author and Article Information
J. W. Akkerman

NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Tex. 77058

J. Eng. Ind 101(4), 456-462 (Nov 01, 1979) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3439536 History: Received August 21, 1978; Online July 15, 2010


A hydrazine-fueled piston-type engine for providing 11.2 kW (15 hp) has been developed to satisfy the need for an efficient power supply in the range from 3.7 to 74.6 kW (5 to 100 hp) where existing nonair-breathing power supplies such as fuel cells or turbines are inappropriate. The engine was developed for an aircraft to fly to 21.3 km (70 000 ft) and above and cruise for extended periods. The NASA Hugh L. Dryden Flight Research Center developed a remotely piloted aircraft and the associated flight control techniques for this application. The engine is geared down internally (2/1) to accommodate a 1.8-m (6 ft) diameter propeller. An alternator is included to provide electrical power. The pusher-type engine is mounted onto the aft closure of the fuel tank, which also provides mounting for all other propulsion equipment. About 20 hr of run time have demonstrated good efficiency and adequate life. One flight test to 6.1 km (20 000 ft) has been made using the engine with a small fixed-pitch four-bladed propeller. The test was successful in demonstrating operational characteristics and future potential.

Copyright © 1979 by ASME
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