Project Opportunities: Plasma-Assisted Combustion Enhancment Via a Novel Fuel Injector – Better Combustion, Better Performance

This project endeavours to develop a better fuel injection technology for jet engines and gas turbines, which use plasma (an ionized state of matter useful for accelerating and controlling chemical reactions) discharge and thereby provide an additional pathway or control input to stabilize flames. When this system is included in a jet engine or gas turbine, key design and operational tradeoffs can be limited allowing for more optimum operation resulting in reduced fuel consumption, lower emissions, increased fuel flexibility and improved reliability.

The idea of plasma-assisted combustion (PAC) is not new and has been researched extensively. However, there has been little work on the practical application and commercialization of PAC to solve real combustion problems. At a high level, plasma works well with gaseous fuels at atmospheric pressures but as conditions approach those found in an engine (increasing pressure, flow velocities and liquid fuels in some applications) problems start to occur in areas including NOx emissions, electrode durability, and excessive power consumption from the plasma. Also, practical problems inherent to combining a plasma based system with realistic combustor geometry have been experienced. The goal of this project is to translate fundamental science and engineering knowledge on plasma-asssited combustion and produce a plasma-based improvement to the injectors of a C65 Microturbine from Capstone.

As an ARE Program participant, you will be responsible for:

  • Assistance with detailed design and design calculations of new fuel injector prototypes
  • Detailed design and design calculations of a high pressure, optically accessible burner
  • Assistance designing and conducting experiments to evaluate the performance of novel injector concepts
  • CFD analysis of fuel injector prototypes and validation with experimental data.
  • Assistance developing a LabView interface for controlling experiment
  • Assistance analyzing data from experiments.

We are looking for candidates who:

  • Have interest and aptitude with applying scientific principles to develop technological solutions to tough problems.
  • Are strong problem solvers and are comfortable with uncertainty.
  • Have experience and interest in aeropropulsion and/or power generation systems.
  • Are proficient with engineering software packages such as Solidworks, LabView, and Commercial CFD Codes such as Converge CFD or ANSYS Fluent.

Candidates should have a B.S. or M.S. in aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering or engineering physics.

Desired qualifications:

  • Have a strong background in thermal/fluid sciences, particularly in combustion
  • Knowledge of plasma physics
  • Experience conducting experiments

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