Advanced Fuel Grain Design for Hybrid Rocket Motors

Profs. William R. Murray, Joseph D. Mello, and Patrick Lemieux
Mechanical Engineering Department
Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo
Phone: (805) 756-2414

This request seeks support for advanced fuel grain design and testing, which is the next step in the process of Cal Poly students design, build, test, and launch rockets powered by hybrid rocket motors with advanced nozzles. We propose to develop advanced fuel grain geometries that are made as a composite material composed of HTPB1 and carbon fiber. Using carbon fiber reinforcement for HTPB fuel grains has the potential to yield multi-port grains that display very low residual mass fraction with little to no HTPB chunking. Under the supervision of Profs. Murray, Mello, and Lemieux, this design, build, and test project will be accomplished by a graduate student, for whom fuel grain design studies will be thesis research, and by a team of undergraduate research students who will assist in the design and manufacturing of these fuel grains.

Long-Term Objective: The overall objectives for the proposed project are twofold: 1) to foster and support significant project-based learning activities related to rocketry and propulsion in the College of Engineering at Cal Poly; and 2) to increase interaction between those students and faculty participating in these rocketry and propulsion projects at Cal Poly and the California companies involved in providing access to space.