Know your rocket engine by heart – with Kistler test and measurement technology

Know your rocket engine by heart

With Kistler test and measurement technology

Rockets are complex and expensive assets undergoing a lot of stress, especially during launch. So their engines have to be thoroughly tested to meet demanding requirements. Dependent on the nature of the propellant (solid or liquid) thrust, pressure and vibration characterization are indispensable test requirements for safe and efficient rocket launches. Kistler has more than 50 years of experience in space testing and supports engineers with cutting-edge, application specific measurement technology. Rely on us to make it fly!

Up to 750 Hz

High-frequency dynamic force measurement

Up to 700 °C

Dynamic pressure measurement directly in the combustion chamber: with high-temperature sensors (operational 1000 °C for short duration)

Cryogenic

Dynamic characterization of liquid propellant fuel supply with piezoelectric pressure and acceleration sensors

Long-term measurement

of static pressure with piezoresistive pressure sensors
High-temperature accelerometers allow for precise monitoring of pressure pulsations and fluctuations in rocket engines.

Thrust characterization

Fuel efficiency for both solid and liquid rockets is a major concern for rocket engine designers. Characterizing the thrust provides a clear understanding of how much power can be produced with a given nozzle design. This allows engineers to compute the specific impulse of the combustion material and study the different phases of ignition, burn-in and switch-off. Application specific 6-axis piezoelectric (PE) dynamometers are ideal for such investigations.

This approach also provides an in-depth understanding of the injection and mix of fuel components, ignition time, imbalances, and combustion: essential knowledge to verify the reliable performance of a rocket engine and drive the development of propulsion technologies. Piezoelectric pressure and acceleration sensors from Kistler span the extreme range of ultra-high temperature stability and dynamics required to tackle the challenges encountered in extreme thrust chamber environments. Based on the request we can provide customer-specific dynamometers (force plates) through our dedicated Kistler Custom Product Lane team (CPL).

High natural frequency

We provide force sensors with natural frequencies >50 kHz for highly dynamic measurements.

Rangeability

PE sensor technology allows for quasi-static and dynamic force measurements with high resolution.

Adaptability

Single and multicomponent force sensors from Kistler can be combined to application specific dynamometers.
Static pressure monitoring and characterization

Static pressure monitoring and characterization

Static pressure monitoring is another important measurement in rocket engine testing. This process, performed on a rocket engine test bench, includes monitoring and controlling of propellant flow as well as measuring the static pressure in the combustion chamber. Monitoring and control of propellant flow for liquid propellant rocket engines requires static pressure sensors. Piezoresistive pressure sensors from Kistler utilize a cavity-etched, micro-machined, silicon sensing element and are suitable for applications with media that are compatible with silicone oil filled capsules.

Frequency response

Long-term static pressure measurement requires piezoresistive technology with inherent operation from 0Hz up to 5 kHz, unlike piezoelectric sensors which only allow quasistatic operation.

Intrinsic safety

Depending on the use and installation of the pressure sensor, inherent protection against igniting explosive environments may be required.

Long-term stability

Piezoresistive pressure sensors utilize an oil-filled and cavity etched, micro-machined, silicon sensing element which provides inherent 0.1%/year long-term stability.
Combustion instability investigations use high-temperature Type 6021A pressure and Type 8209A acceleration sensors

Dynamic pressure and vibration monitoring

In depth understanding of injection of fuel components and their mix, ignition time and combustion is absolutely essential in order to verify the reliable performance of a rocket engine and to drive the development of propulsion technologies. Piezoelectric pressure and acceleration sensors from Kistler span the extreme range of ultra-high temperature stability and dynamics required to tackle the challenges encountered in extreme thrust chamber environments.

Ultra-high-temperature accelerometers

Sensors can be mounted close to the combustion chamber and are the preferred choice for optimized combustion instability measurement. In such applications, temperatures can reach up to 550 °C (930 °F).

Cryogenic accelerometers and pressure sensors

The cryogenic piezoelectric accelerometers and pressure sensors span an outstanding temperature range down to -196 °C (-320 °F).

High-pressure sensors for ignition

While measuring during the ignition phase, highly dynamic high pressure sensors will detect high pressure peaks, very high and fast rising thermal shock events with very harsh sensor diaphragm exposure.

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