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Course Co-ordinated by IIT madras
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Prof. K. Ramamurthi
IIT Madras

 

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  1. Motion in Space

  2. Rocket Principle

  3. Nozzles

  4. Chemical Propellants

  5. Solid propellant rockets

  6. Liquid propellant rockets

  7. Monopropellant rockets

  8. Hybrid rockets

  9. Combustion instability

  10. Electrical rockets

  11. Nuclear and advanced rockets; future goals.

 

Lecture. No

Topic

 

I. Background and Requirements

1

Introduction, Motion of bodies in space, parameters describing motion of bodies, frame of reference

2

Impulse, force, universal law for gravitational force, motion in rotating frame of reference, pseudo-centrifugal force

3

Orbits, orbit velocities, orbital period, geosynchronous and geostationary orbits, eccentricity and inclination, polar, sun-synchronous and other orbits

4

Energy requirements for orbit, escape velocity, orbital and suborbital flight, state of weightlessness under free fall

 

II. Rocket Principle

5

Means of achieving orbit, Motion of a sled initially at rest

6

Motion of giant squids, Rocket principle and Rocket equation

7

Mass ratio of rocket, desirable parameters to achieve high velocities, propulsive efficiency

8

Performance parameters of a rocket, staging and clustering, classification of rockets

 

III. Nozzles

9

Rocket nozzles: Expansion of gases from high pressure chamber, efflux velocity, shape of nozzle

10

Convergent divergent nozzle, choking, variation of parameters in nozzle

11

Expansion ratio of nozzles, Performance loss in nozzles

12

Under-expanded and over-expanded nozzles, flow separation,

13

Contour nozzles, adapted nozzles and unconventional nozzles,mass flow rates and characteristic velocities

14

Thrust developed by a rocket, thrust coefficient, vacuum and sea level specific impulse, efficiencies and thrust correction factor

 

IV. Chemical Propellants

15

Chemical propellants: Choice from considerations of molecular mass, specific heats, specific heat ratios, temperature and pressure

16

Choice of chemical propellants: heats of formation, moles and mixture ratio; choice of mixture ratio

17

Calculation of heat of combustion, temperature, molecular mass and rocket performance parameters

18

Solid propellants: Double base, composite, composite modified double base and nitramine propellants

19

Liquid propellants; Energy content and classification, Earth storable and space storable propellants, hypergolic and other features, hybrid propellants

20

Influence of dissociation on propellant performance, frozen and equilibrium analysis

 

V. Solid Propellant Rockets

21

Solid propellant rockets: burn rate of double base and composite propellants, parameters influencing burn rates

22

Choice of burn rates for stable operation

23

Propellant grain configurations: design of solid propellant rocket

24

Ignition of solid propellant rockets, ignition problems and solutions

25

Characteristic burn times and action times of solid propellant rockets, variation of burn rates with rocket size, erosive burning, components of solid propellant rocket

 

VI. Liquid Propellant Rockets

26

Introduction to liquid propellant rockets, propellant feed systems, cycles of operation, gas generator, topping/staged combustion cycle, expander and other cycles, factors influencing choice of cycle

27

Thrust chamber, injector types, combustion chamber

28

Calculation of efficiency of liquid propellant rockets from non uniform distribution of propellants and incomplete vaporization, characteristic length of chamber

29

Cooling of thrust chamber and nozzle

30

Performance and choice of feed system cycle, Choice of parameters for liquid propellant rockets

31

Turbo-pumps for liquid propellant rockets

32

Expulsion of propellants using high pressure gas and mass requirements, draining of propellants under microgravity conditions

33

Complexity of liquid propellant rockets, determination of performance; current trends

 

VII. Monopropellant and hybrid Rockets

34

Monopropellant rockets

35

Hybrid rockets

 

VIII. Combustion Instability in Rockets

36

Combustion instability in rockets; illustration through examples, bulk and wave modes of instability

37

Modeling of bulk mode of instability in solid and liquid propellant rockets

38

Standing waves and characteristic frequencies in different wave modes

39

Modeling of wave mode instability in rockets

40

Other types of instabilities; Pogo, vortex shedding etc., Methods of overcoming instability problems

 

IX. Electrical Rockets

41

Electrical rockets: electrical and magnetic fields, electro-thermal, arc-jet, electrostatic and electromagnetic thrusters

42

Gridded ion thrusters, neutralization and thrust limitations, Hall effect thrusters

43

Choice of parameters for electrical thrusters, specific mass and optimum efflux velocity, Current trends in electrical rockets.

 

X. Nuclear and Advanced Propulsion

44

Nuclear, tri-propellant and advanced propulsion: Future trends.

  • Thermodynamics.

  • Fluid Mechanics.


  1. Hill, P. G. and Peterson, C.R., Mechanics and thermodynamics of propulsion, 2nd ed., Reading, Massachusetts: Addison Wesley Publishing Company,, 1992.

  2. Sutton, G. P. and Biblarj, O. Rocket propulsion elements, 7th Ed., New York: Wiley Intescience Pulications, 2001.

  3. Mukunda, H. S., Understanding aerospace propulsion, Bangalore: Interline Publishing, 2004.

  4. Ramamurthi, K., Rocket Propulsion, Macmillan (in press) 2009


  1. Timnat, Y. M., Advanced chemical rocket propulsion, London: Academic Press,,1987.

  2. Shapiro, A. H., The dynamics and thermodynamics of compressible fluid flow, vol. 1, New York: John Wiley and Sons Inc., 1953.

  3. E. Stulinger, Electric propulsion development, Progress in Astronautics and Aeronautics, vol. 9, Academic Press, New York, 1963.

  4. M. Barrere, A. Jaumotte, B.J. Veubeke and J. Vanderkerckhove, Rocket Propulsion, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1960.



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