Tests commenced on Semi-Cryogenic engine at IPRC

Tests commenced on Semi-Cryogenic engine at IPRC: Today, ISRO carried out the first integrated test on an intermediate configuration of the 2000kN (kilo Newton) Semi-cryogenic Engine at the newly commissioned Semi-cryogenic Integrated Engine & Stage Test facility at the ISRO Propulsion Complex(IPRC), Mahendragiri. The intermediate configuration, designated as Power Head Test Article (PHTA), comprises all the engine systems except the thrust chamber. The test is the first of a series of tests planned to validate the design of the propellant feed system, including the low-pressure and high-pressure turbo-pumps, the gas generator, and control components.

Tests commenced on Semi-Cryogenic engine at IPRC

  1. The Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) of ISRO has undertaken the design & development of a Semi-cryogenic engine with 2000 kN (kilo Newton) thrust with Indian industry participation, and will power the booster stages of future launch vehicles and works on Liquid Oxygen (LOX)-Kerosene propellant combination. The test on May 10, 2023, is a major milestone before integrating the complete engine and its qualification. This test demonstrated the complex chill-down operations spanning about 15 hours duration that was conducted successfully, meeting all the required conditions for engine start. After the chill down of the LOX circuit, the feed circuit of kerosene was filled, and LOX was admitted into the gas generator by opening the injection valve. Successful performance of the test article helps derive the sequence of operations for further tests.

Tests commenced on Semi-Cryogenic engine at IPRC

The newly established test facility at IPRC, Mahendragiri, with a state-of-art PLC-based control system and data acquisition system, is capable of testing semi-cryogenic engines up to 2600 kN (kilo Newton) thrust and will support the subsequent testing and qualification of the fully integrated Semi-cryogenic engine and stage. This test has demonstrated the successful performance of the test facility and power head test article in the first attempt itself.

What is Cryogenic fuel

Cryogenic fuel in aeronautics refers to a type of fuel that is used to power rockets and spacecraft. The term “cryogenic” refers to the extremely low temperature at which the fuel is stored and used, typically below -150°C (-238°F). The two most commonly used cryogenic fuels in aeronautics are liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

Liquid hydrogen is often used as a fuel in rocket engines because of its high energy content and low weight. When combined with liquid oxygen, it produces a powerful and efficient combustion reaction, which produces water vapor and releases a significant amount of energy. The use of cryogenic fuels like liquid hydrogen is critical to the successful launch and operation of spacecraft because they provide a high energy-to-mass ratio, allowing for maximum payload and range capabilities.

The storage and handling of cryogenic fuels in aeronautics requires specialized equipment and facilities, as the extreme cold temperature of the fuel poses significant technical challenges. However, the benefits of using cryogenic fuels, including high efficiency, low environmental impact, and high performance, make them a critical component of modern aeronautics and space exploration.

What is Cryogenic Engine

A cryogenic engine in aeronautics refers to a rocket engine that uses cryogenic fuels, typically liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, to produce thrust.

Cryogenic engines use a process called “expander cycle” to generate power. In this process, the fuel is fed into the engine, where it is cooled down to its liquid state and then vaporized by the heat of the engine’s combustion. The resulting high-pressure gas is then used to drive the turbine, which generates the engine’s thrust.

The use of cryogenic engines in aeronautics offers several advantages, including high efficiency, high specific impulse (which is a measure of the efficiency of a rocket engine), and low environmental impact. Cryogenic engines are also capable of generating more thrust than traditional engines, which makes them ideal for use in heavy-lift launch vehicles and spacecraft.

However, the use of cryogenic engines also presents some technical challenges, including the need for specialized equipment and facilities to store and handle the fuels. Additionally, cryogenic engines require sophisticated and precise control systems to maintain optimal performance and ensure safety.

Despite these challenges, cryogenic engines have become an essential component of modern aeronautics and space exploration, and their continued development and refinement are critical to advancing our ability to explore and understand the universe around us.

What is Semi-Cryogenic Engine

A semi-cryogenic engine in aeronautics is a type of rocket engine that uses a mixture of cryogenic and high-boiling point hydrocarbon fuels to generate thrust. The term “semi-cryogenic” refers to the fact that only one of the fuels, typically liquid oxygen, is stored at cryogenic temperatures, while the other fuel is stored at a higher temperature.

The use of a semi-cryogenic engine allows for some of the benefits of cryogenic engines, such as high efficiency and performance, while reducing some of the technical challenges associated with storing and handling cryogenic fuels. Semi-cryogenic engines typically use kerosene as the high-boiling point hydrocarbon fuel, which is less volatile than liquid hydrogen and therefore easier to store and handle.

Semi-cryogenic engines use a similar expander cycle as cryogenic engines to generate power, with the high-pressure gas produced by the combustion of the fuels driving the engine’s turbine to generate thrust. The use of a mixture of cryogenic and high-boiling point hydrocarbon fuels allows for a more efficient combustion process, resulting in higher specific impulse and greater thrust than traditional engines.

The development of semi-cryogenic engines represents an important step forward in the field of aeronautics, as it allows for greater efficiency and performance in rocket engines while also reducing some of the technical challenges associated with cryogenic fuels. Semi-cryogenic engines are currently being developed and tested by several countries and space agencies, with the hope of advancing our ability to explore and understand the universe around us.

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