Plasma-assisted fuel atomization and multipoint ignition for scramjet engines

Sergey O. Macheret, Mikhail N. Shneider, Richard B. Miles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Estimates of energy and power requirements for shortening the ignition delay time in hydrocarbon-fueled scramjet engines using non equilibrium plasma generation of radicals show that the uniform volumetric plasma ignition would be associated with extremely high power budget and substantial losses of total pressure. A multipoint plasma ignition scheme based on electron beams is proposed that would emulate the volumetric ignition while reducing the power budget by several orders of magnitude. The paper also explores an approach where the fuel is injected into the core flow as a liquid jet, and low-power electron beams are used to electrostatically charge the droplets and thus to control droplet breakup, atomization, mixing, and ignition. With a subcritical microwave field applied to the injection region, local enhancement of electric field strength at the surface of droplets, together with seed electrons and ions produced by the electron beam, would create subcritical microwave discharges and thus initiate combustion in multiple spots. The multi spot ignition would help in spreading the flame across the combustor. Additionally, the initiation of combustion at the droplet surface, where local equivalence ratio is high, could help ignite lean (in average) mixtures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-362
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Propulsion and Power
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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