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Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Fundamentals of combustion for propulsion

Indian Institute of Technology Madras and NPTEL via Swayam


The gulf between science of combustion and its practice is strikingly visible during interactions between academics and practitioners. In spite of this, significant progress has happened over the last few decades in development of propulsion systems for space and defense applications in India. But in dealing with ‘combustion instability’, practitioners find the existing methods of practice and more importantly the way of thinking highly inadequate. This course, in an interactive way, will attempt to bridge this gap by introducing practitioners and research scholars in the field of combustion and propulsion to essential existing ideas and a few new ones. It is hoped that this will enable the participants to think of novel strategies to deal with development of propulsion systems prone to ‘instability’. The instructors also hope to learn of issues of fundamental nature that are required to address developments in practice.INTENDED AUDIENCE : (1) Research students working in the area of combustion and propulsion (2) Practicing engineers in the area of development of combustion and propulsion systems for space and defense applicationsPREREQUISITES : UG/PG degree in mechanical/aerospace engineeringINDUSTRY SUPPORT : DRDO, ISRO, HAL, NAL


Week 1 : Lecture 1 – Equilibrium: physical, thermodynamic and chemical Lecture 2 – Equilibrium controlled and rate controlled processes in gaseous, liquid and solid fuels Lecture 3 – Calculation of equilibrium statesWeek 2 : Lecture 4 – Laminar premixed and diffusion flames: principal features and differences Lecture 5 – Quenching, flammability and other limit phenomena Lecture 6 – Discussion of burning behavior of gaseous, liquid and solid fuelsWeek 3 : Lecture 7 – Basics of composite solid propellant deflagration Lecture 8 – Why model deflagration of composite propellants? Lecture 9 – Statistical representation of composite propellants in HeQu1D – geometry and thermochemistryWeek 4 : Lecture 10 – Idea of lateral diffusion Lecture 11 – Overview of the HeQu1D software and demonstration Lecture 12 – Effect of aluminumWeek 5 : Lecture 13 – Erosive burning Lecture 14 – Instability in solid rockets – 1 Lecture 15 – Instability in solid rockets – 2Week 6 : Lecture 16 – Principal ideas of combustion in liquid propellant rockets Lecture 17 - Principal ideas of combustion in gas turbine afterburners Lecture 18 – Combustion in boundary layers and hybrid rockets – essential ideas and emerging trendsWeek 7 : Lecture 19 – Instability in liquid propellant rockets and gas turbine afterburners– modes and mechanism Lecture 20 – Strategies for evolving instability free designs – global and local considerations Lecture 21 – Is there a connection between instability in LPP gas turbine primary combustors and rockets/afterburners? Week 8 : Lecture 22 – Discussion 1 Lecture 23 – Discussion 2 Lecture 24 – Overview of topics covered, topic not covered and what next?

Taught by

Prof. S Varunkumar, Prof. H S Mukunda



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