Validation of high-fidelity CFD simulations for rocket injector design

P. Kevin Tucker, Suresh Menon, Joseph C. Oefelein, Vigor Yang, Charles L. Merkle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

85 Citations (Scopus)


Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has the potential to improve the historical rocket injector design process by evaluating the sensitivity of performance and injector-driven thermal environments to the details of the injector geometry and key operational parameters. Methodical verification and validation efforts on a range of coaxial injector elements have shown the current production CFD capability must be improved in order to quantitatively impact the injector design process. This paper documents the status of a focused effort to compare and understand the predictive capabilities and computational requirements of a range of CFD methodologies on a set of single element injector model problems. The steady Reynolds-Average Navier-Stokes (RANS), unsteady Reynolds-Average Navier-Stokes (URANS) and three different approaches using the Large Eddy Simulation (LES) technique were used to simulate the initial model problem, a single element coaxial injector using gaseous oxygen and gaseous hydrogen propellants. While one high-fidelity LES result matches the experimental combustion chamber wall heat flux very well, there is no monotonic convergence to the data with increasing computational tool fidelity. Systematic evaluation of key flow field regions such as the flame zone, the head end recirculation zone and the downstream near wall zone has shed significant, though as of yet incomplete, light on the complex, underlying causes for the performance level of each technique.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Event44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit - Hartford, CT, United States
Duration: 2008 Jul 212008 Jul 23

Publication series

Name44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit


Conference44th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityHartford, CT

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • General Energy
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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