The research is intended to develop new engines for future applications and will focus on detonation engines, a type of propulsion system that uses detonation waves to combust the fuel and oxidizer mixture.
Currently, scientists are exploring pulsed and continuous detonation engines. This technology is still very much in its infancy. No detonation engine has been put into production so far, but several test bed engines with pulsed detonation have been built. Russian scientists are looking especially into continuous detonation technology.
Theoretically, a detonation engine can operate from subsonic up to a hypersonic flight speed of roughly Mach 5. Detonation engines are believed to have a thermodynamic efficiency higher than other designs like turbojets and turbofans because a detonation wave rapidly compresses the mixture and adds heat at constant volume.
EADS Innovation Works, the corporate research network will collaborate with the Russian Lavrentiev Institute of Hydrodynamics located in Novosibirsk. In recent years EADS has already performed preliminary theoretical and experimental works in cooperation with the Lavrentiev Institute. These studies aimed at obtaining a first demonstration of the feasibility of a Continuous Detonation Wave Engine for air breathing and rocket application. Compared to a Pulsed Detonation Engine, this design allows an easier operation in reduced-pressure environment and an increase in engine mass flow rate and thrust-to weight ratio.
In this research programme, EADS is benefitting from its membership of the Russian Innovation Centre in Skolkovo. This body has implemented a programme of financial support for local high-tech companies situated at the technology business hub in the Moscow region. If the research proves a success the companies will then be able to apply for a second grant.
The EADS research centre at Skolkovo is a branch of the Russian Technology Office (RTO) which was established in 2003 as a part of EADS Innovation Works to facilitate cooperation with the Russian research and development community. Since its opening, the RTO has already managed more than 100 cooperative research and technology programmes between EADS and Russian institutions with a focus on advanced engineering tools.
Commenting EADS Chief Technical Officer Dr. Jean Botti said “We are pleased to receive this grant from the Skolkovo Foundation. Our research in Russia is another example of the EADS Corporate Technical Office’s strategy of partnering with world class institutes and organisations to develop leading edge aerospace solutions for the future.”