Maximizing the efficiency of solid fuel rockets and controlling the flight profile requires the tailor engineering of multiple design features. Previously, I identified engine design features which had significant impact on thrust generation. However, data was collected and analyzed after the burn test. The purpose of this project is to simultaneously monitor multiple engine performance parameters, collect data on the millisecond timescale and analyze it in real time.
To achieve these goals, I designed and built a rocket engine test device with multiple sensors integrated into the apparatus. I also wrote a computer program called Rapid Information Procurement with Real-time Analysis Program (RIPRAP) which collects and analyzes data in real time.
Thermocouples and pressure sensors were placed in the engine burn chamber and nozzle to monitor temperature and pressure. Analog signals from the sensors were converted to digital signals, imported into RIPRAP and analyzed.
RIPRAP calculated the amount of fuel spent, the amount of fuel remaining, the dynamic pressure in the engine and nozzle, the volume and speed of the gas exiting the burn chamber through the nozzle and the energy and force produced over time.
RIPRAP also generated theoretical flight profiles. All data was saved in spreadsheets for re-analysis with user-defined parameters to predict performance prior to building new engines. Finally, RIPRAP monitored engine performance against predefined values and generated digital output signals when appropriate.
Future work will integrate these output signals into the rocket test device thereby completing the information and control loop.
This project investigated using a computer program that I wrote, data from rocket engines was collected and analyzed in real time and used to further optimize the test engines..
Science Fair Project done By Anthony J. Neuberger