Two engineering researchers have been awarded a three-year, $640,000 NASA National Research Award to study novel injector designs to support combustion at hypersonic speeds, work aimed at reducing air travel times and making space access affordable.
Luca Maddalena and Luca Massa, both assistant professors in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, are the only collegiate researchers in the country to garner the NASA hypersonic award.
“We’re honored to be the only U.S. grant winners to study this very important topic,” Dr. Maddalena says. “This study on the effectiveness of new fuel injection schemes might lead to enabling affordable access to space for large hypersonic vehicles.”
Hypersonic speed is that which reaches Mach 5, or 3,500 miles per hour and more. Hypersonic technology differs from rocket technology in that hypersonic engines pull oxygen from the surrounding air. Rocket propulsion engines carry their oxygen source on board, which limits the payload of what the aircraft can carry.
Read more about the NASA grant.