Update on green chemical propulsion activities and achievements by the University of Padua and its spin-off T4I
F. Barato, A. Ruffin, M. Santi, M. Fagherazzi, N. Bellomo, D. Pavarindownload PDF
Abstract. In recent years, there has been a great research interest on green propulsion, both for environmental, cost and ease-of-use considerations, further accelerated by the needs of the NewSpace Economy. Hydrogen peroxide is a green and versatile propellant that is suitable for a lot of different uses in space applications. Following a previous AIDAA publication of 2019, this paper updates the research performed on hydrogen peroxide-based propulsion by the University of Padua and its spin-off T4i with the latest achievements. Starting from the simplest propulsion systems, several monopropellant thrusters have been successfully designed and tested, ranging from a propulsion module of 1 N, to a 10 N and 200 N flight-weight items. The thrusters can operate in blowdown or pressure-regulated mode, and they have been tested for hundreds of seconds of continuous operation and for thousands of pulses. A 450 N liquid bipropellant motor that burns the monopropellant exhausts with diesel fuel has also been developed and tested. The motor uses an unconventional internal vortex flow field to achieve stability, efficiency, and self-cooling of the chamber. The nozzle throat region temperature is kept under control by regenerative cooling channels fed by the peroxide. All thrusters make extensive use of additive manufacturing. The hydrogen peroxide technology has also been applied on hybrid propulsion, which was the initial main expertise of the Padua University propulsion group. Hundreds of tests have been performed at lab-scale, mainly with paraffin wax and polyethylene as fuels, with burning time up to 80 seconds. The motors are able to start, stop and restart multiple times. A cavitating pintle valve has been developed in house in order to control the oxidizer mass flow. With this valve, the hybrid motors are able to throttle the thrust in a range of 1:12.6. A similar valve has been also employed in the integrated monopropellant propulsion system of a lunar drone, composed by a 400 N throttleable engine together with 4 small 14 N on-off attitude control thrusters. Moreover, several dozens of hybrid tests have been performed at 5-10 kN scale up to 50 seconds. Finally, a composite sounding rocket powered by a pressure-regulated 5 kN hybrid rocket has been fully designed and successfully flight tested.
Hydrogen Peroxide, Green Chemical Propulsion, Hybrid Rockets, Liquid Thrusters, Sounding Rocket, Throttling, Regenerative Cooling, Additive Manufacturing
Published online 11/1/2023, 9 pages
Copyright © 2023 by the author(s)
Published under license by Materials Research Forum LLC., Millersville PA, USA
Citation: F. Barato, A. Ruffin, M. Santi, M. Fagherazzi, N. Bellomo, D. Pavarin, Update on green chemical propulsion activities and achievements by the University of Padua and its spin-off T4I, Materials Research Proceedings, Vol. 37, pp 645-653, 2023
The article was published as article 140 of the book Aeronautics and Astronautics
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 F. Barato, N. Bellomo, A. Ruffin, E. Paccagnella, M. Santi, M. Franco and D. Pavarin, Status and Achievements of the Hydrogen Peroxide Chemical Propulsion Research at Padua University, Italian Association of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIDAA) XXV International Congress, 9-12 September 2019, Rome, Italy.
 M. Santi, I. Dorgnach, F. Barato, D. Pavarin. Design and Testing of a 3D Printed 10 N Hydrogen Peroxide Monopropellant Thruster, AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum, Indianapolis, IN, USA (2019). https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2019-4277
 D. Nissan, M. Santi, F. Barato, D. Pavarin, Testing of a Small HTP Monopropellant Thruster for Space Applications, International Astronautical Congress, Paris, France, 18-22 September 2022.
 M. Santi, L. Gerolin, D. Antelo, B. Montanari, M. Fagherazzi, F. Barato, D. Pavarin, Development and testing of an engineering model of a hydrogen peroxide based 1N propulsion unit, International Astronautical Congress, Paris, France, 18-22 September 2022.
 A. Ruffin, M. Fagherazzi, N. Bellomo, F. Barato, D. Pavarin, M. Pessana, Development of the Propulsion System for a Moon Drone Vehicle Demonstrator, AIAA 2021-3564, AIAA Propulsion and Energy 2021 Forum, 9-11 August, Virtual Event. https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2021-3564
 M. Santi, M. Fagherazzi, F. Barato, D. Pavarin, Design and Testing of a Hydrogen Peroxide Bipropellant Thruster, AIAA 2020-3827, AIAA Propulsion and Energy 2020 Forum, 24-28 August, Virtual Event. https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2020-3827.
 M. Fagherazzi, M. Santi, F. Barato, D. Pavarin, Design and Testing of a 3D Printed Regenerative Cooled Nozzle for a Hydrogen Peroxide based Bi-Propellant Thruster, AIAA 2021-3235, AIAA Propulsion and Energy 2021 Forum, 9-11 August, Virtual Event. https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/10.2514/6.2021-3235.c1
 M. Fagherazzi, M. Santi, F. Barato, M. Pizzarelli, Simplified Thermal Analysis Model for Regeneratively Cooled Rocket Engine Thrust Chambers and Its Calibration with Experimental Data, Aerospace 2023, 10(5), 403; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10050403
 E. Paccagnella, M. Santi, A. Ruffin, F. Barato, D. Pavarin, G. Misté, G. Venturelli, N. Bellomo. Testing of a Long-Burning-Time Paraffin-based Hybrid Rocket Motor. Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 35, No. 2, pp. 432-442 (2019). https://doi.org/10.2514/1.B37144
 M. Franco, F. Barato, E. Paccagnella, M.Santi, A. Battiston, A. Comazzetto and D. Pavarin, Regression Rate Design Tailoring Through Vortex Injection in Hybrid Rocket Motors, Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, 7 November 2019. https://doi.org/10.2514/1.A34539
 A. Ruffin, F. Barato, M. Santi, E. Paccagnella, N. Bellomo, G. Misté, G. Venturelli, D. Pavarin. Development of a Cavitating Pintle for a Throttleable Hybrid Rocket Motor, 7th European Conference for Aeronautics and Space Sciences (EUCASS), Milan, Italy (2017).
 A. Ruffin, M. Santi, E. Paccagnella, F. Barato, N. Bellomo G. Miste, G. Venturelli, D. Pavarin. Development of a Flow Control Valve for a Throttleable Hybrid Rocket Motor and Throttling Fire Tests, 54th AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, Cincinnati, OH, USA (2018). https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2018-4664
 A. Ruffin, E. Paccagnella, M. Santi, F. Barato, D. Pavarin. Real Time Deep Throttling Tests of a Hydrogen Peroxide Hybrid Rocket Motor, Journal of Propulsion and Power, Published Online: 4 April 2022. https://doi.org/10.2514/1.B38504
 F. Barato, D. Pavarin, Advanced Low-Cost Hypersonic Flight Test Platforms, HiSST: 2nd International Conference on High-Speed Vehicle Science Technology, 11–15 September 2022, Bruges, Belgium.