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Students and faculty members at the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) set a record for participation at a single international conference for the institute. UTSI presented a total of 20 papers at the 46th Joint Propulsion Conference held in Nashville this summer. Professor Joe Majdalani’s group contributed sixteen papers, Assistant Professor Trevor Moeller’s group contributed three papers, and Professor Emeritus Gary Flandro’s group contributed one paper.

First row left to right: Professor Joe Majdalani, Georges and Michel Akiki, and Professor Trevor Moeller. Second row left to right: Brian Maicke, Josh Batterson and Joel Thompson.

The conference was a venue for UTSI to present research endeavors in several propulsion-related areas such as modeling mach number and temperature distributions in supersonic nozzle flow and pressure blowdown and sideloads in rockets. Presenters included the professors along with graduate research assistants Michel Akiki, Josh Batterson, Brian Maicke, Tina Rice and Richard Joel Thompson.

Majdalani delivered five presentations and an oral report to the Hybrid Rocket Technical Committee. Moeller presented the development of a unique electric propulsion thrust stand for high-power thrusters. Michel Akiki presented a semi-analytical formulation of the compressible flowfield in solid rocket motors. Georges Akiki presented a study that involved a new exact Euler solution for the mean flow of a bidirectional vortex with realistic inlet and outlet velocity profiles. Batterson’s focused on the core and sidewall boundary layers of both linear and nonlinear cyclonic flowfields in vortex-fired liquid rocket engines and the behavior of cyclonic motions in the presence of multiple flow reversals. Maicke’s work encompassed high speed propulsion topics such as nozzle flow modeling, internal compressible flow and hypersonic flow analysis. Rice presented the initial results of her research into the interaction between combustion chemical kinetics and acoustic fields, as it relates to liquid rocket combustion instability. Thompson presented two papers detailing laser-materials interactions in two micro-laser ablation thruster configurations, along with predicted improvements in thruster performance over a conventional design.

“I feel honored to work with such high caliber faculty the Space Institute employs,” UTSI CEO Robert Moore said. “Needless to say, our students study and research in an environment which offers instruction from world class faculty and quality resources.”

The conference included the following professional societies: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Society of Automotive Engineer, and the American Society of Electrical Engineers.