Numerical Investigation of a N2O/HTPB Hybrid Rocket Motor with a Dual-Vortical-Flow (DVF) Design

A. Lai, Y. C. Lin, S. S. Wei, T. H. Chou, J. W. Lin, Jong-Shinn Wu*, Y. S. Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


A compact hybrid rocket motor design that incorporates a dual-vortical-flow (DVF) concept is proposed. The oxidizer (nitrous oxide, N2O) is injected circumferentially into various sections of the rocket motor, which are sectored by several solid fuel “rings” (made of hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene, HTPB) that are installed along the central axis of the motor. The proposed configuration not only increases the residence time of the oxidizer flow, it also implies an inherent “roll control” capability of the motor. Based on a DVF motor geometry with a designed thrust level of 11.6 kN, the characteristics of the turbulent reacting flow within the motor and its rocket performance were analyzed with a comprehensive numerical model that implements both real-fluid properties and finite-rate chemistry. Data indicate that the vacuum specific impulse (Isp ) of the DVF motor could reach 278 s. The result from a preliminary ground test of a lab-scale DVF hybrid rocket motor (with a designed thrust level of 3,000 N) also shows promising performance. The proposed DVF concept is expected to partly resolve the issue of scalability, which remains challenging for hybrid rocket motors development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-862
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Mechanics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Dual-vortical-flow design
  • Hybrid rocket motor


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