Open Access

Cavitating Venturi as a Mass Flow Controller in a Deep Throttling Liquid Rocket Engine


The most common solutions for rocket engines are the single operation point (thrust level) units. Oxidiser and fuel mass flow rates and the oxidiser-to-fuel mass flow rate ratio (OFR) are some of the determinants of the thrust level. Based on these, planetary ascent and descent; space rendezvous; orbital manoeuvring, including orientation and stabilisation in space; hovering, hazard avoidance during planetary landing; and ballistic missile trajectory control propulsion systems could use throttleable liquid engines. Several engine throttling methods, such as supply pressure variation and variable injector area, can be applied. Among others, a cavitating venturi propellant regulatory valve is one of the most promising throttling method. This type of valve can provide steady mass flow, despite the downstream pressure disturbance (i.e. from the combustion chamber), which sustains a stable engine thrust as the mass flow is kept. The article presents the valve sizing method, design and prototype test results of the cavitating venturi valve that has potential for utilisation in a deep throttling rocket engine. Mass flow stability and repeatability are presented for valve operating points in the 10%–110% nominal mass flow range. Valve design optimisation, based on CFD, to sustain cavitation for a higher downstream-to-upstream pressure ratio is shown.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Engineering, Introductions and Overviews, other, Geosciences, Materials Sciences, Physics