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California Space Grant Consortium proposal

STEM Outreach Focused on Research in the Control of Lagrangian Mixing in Fuel Injector Flows into Supersonic Cross-Stream

This proposal addresses a collaborative initiative between the San Diego MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) Alliance (SDMA) and the Department of Aerospace Engineering at San Diego State University (SDSU).  We aim to develop outreach activities that are focused on integrating and motivating students from underrepresented groups into Aerospace research and development.  The SDMA with partner community colleges San Diego City College and Southwestern College provides the ideal platform to identify students from underrepresented groups from grades K-12 to college and interest them in STEM education and research.  The Aerospace Department at SDSU provides the credible and relevant research projects to interest these students in Aerospace Research in particular.  We focus on the involvement of MS and PhD student mentors that are working on the research proposed in a related CaSG Workforce Development proposal on “Control of Lagrangian Mixing in Fuel Injector Flows into Supersonic Cross-Stream”.  Through seminars, campus visits, and mutual mentoring from K-12 to the graduate level, we will motivate and integrate underrepresented students from K-12 up to the PhD level into Aerospace research and development.

Nature and Design of the Project

Introduction:  In order to increase the number of underrepresented students entering STEM fields and graduating with STEM degrees, this project will partner with all divisions of the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program in San Diego making up the San Diego MESA Alliance (SDMA).  This partnership will foster faculty interaction, student engagement in research, mentoring/tutoring from graduate level to K-12, and local field trips to air, space, and science museums/centers.  The San Diego MESA Alliance (SDMA) is a statewide model for effective collaboration between regional MESA programs.  The SDMA creates a supported pipeline from pre-college, through community college, university and ultimately the technical workforce.

Proposal funded:

Scramjet Combustion Student Projects

Professor Gustaaf Jacobs
Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics,
San Diego State University
Phone: (619) 594-6074

The development of the X-51 has surged the development of scramjet technology at NASA and DoD. Fuel injectors play a decisive role in scramjets and have been subject to significant efforts at NASA Centers and AFRL. The design of fuel injectors determines the fuel-air mixing which has a significant impact on the quality of combustion. Poor combustion can lead to flame instability, acoustic instability, and increased emission of pollutants among others and degrades the overall combustor performance. In scramjets used in hypersonic air-launched vehicles fuel injectors typically inject gaseous or liquid hydrocarbon fuels in a supersonic cross-stream. Challenges in the design of these injectors include ignition, a stable flame-holding, a drag overhead and the deep penetration of the fuel into the flow. Many of these challenges are directly related to the complex flow structures and consequent mixing levels close to the injector. Based on recent breakthrough Lagrangian theories developed at SDSU in collaboration with MIT and using our high-fidelity in-house Direct Navier-Stokes and LES solvers, we aim to identify distinct Lagrangian flow structures upstream of the fuel injectors and develop a new theory that enables the quantitative analysis of the dynamic mass and fuel flows into the flame zones. We further seek to control these flow structures by local plasma heating to obtain desired fuel-air mixing levels and ignition temperatures.

Published in Employment MESA Activities Research Research Academy Training