Date of Award

Fall 2014

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Dr. Magdy Attia

First Committee Member

Dr. Mark Ricklick

Second Committee Member

Dr. Sathya Gangadharan


Pressure gain combustion has been known to be more thermodynamically efficient than its constant pressure counterpart, which employs deflagration. Integration of pressure gain combustors into gas turbine engines has been and still is one of the most important challenges facing the gas turbine industry. Pressure gain combustion devices are inherently unsteady. This unsteadiness affects turbomachinery components designed using steady operation assumptions, and results in mechanical inefficiencies which could outweigh the thermal efficiency benefits. Understanding of turbine components specifically made to operate in the exhaust conditions provided by a pressure gain combustor may yield new turbine design paradigms. As a first step towards the turbine design problem, this thesis discusses the effects of unsteady pressure gain combustion devices on gas turbine efficiency as well as current models for pulse detonation engine operation. A new simplified linear model for pulse detonation combustors is presented and compared to experimental data. This model is then implemented as an element in a cycle analysis code using Numerical Propulsion System Simulation (NPSS). This model captures the sharp peaks in flow property variation without the need for expensive computational resources, outperforming other simplified approaches in the literature. With this simplified model, tools may be developed to carry out performance studies of new turbine concepts for pressure gain combustors.