Explicit Modelling of the Ignition Transient Structural Response of a Paraffin Wax Hybrid Rocket Motor Fuel Grain

Kirsty Veale, Sarp Adali, Jean Pitot, Clinton Bemont


Paraffin wax has been identified as a hybrid rocket motor fuel, which offers enhanced regression rates and improved combustion performance. While various investigations into the performance of this class of fuels are being conducted around the world, the consideration of its structural performance is often overlooked. The research presented here establishes a simplified, yet accurate method of defining the structural performance of a paraffin wax hybrid fuel grain to be introduced early in the design phase of a motor. The use of the Johnson–Cook (J–C) material model has been verified to work within the “low speed” ignition range experienced in paraffin wax/N2O hybrid motors, and therefore is used to predict failure in a variety of motors. The resultant stress profiles within the grains indicate that the grain outer to inner diameter (OD/ID) ratio, as well as the outer diameter (OD) itself, play an important role in the grain ability to withstand the loading conditions applied. Additionally, the grain structural properties, and the stiffness of the combustion chamber affect the severity of the internal stresses in the grain. The feasibility of large-scale pure paraffin wax grains without structural enhancement additives is thus found to be poor. Fuel additives should be considered for structural enhancement.


Hybrid rocket; Paraffin wax; Mechanical properties; Structural modelling

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