Hybrid Rocket Propulsion
Dr. Majdalani presently serves as Professor and Francis Chair of Aerospace Engineering at Auburn University. He previously served as the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council Endowed Professor and Department Chair of Aerospace Engineering at Auburn University (2013-2016) as well as the Jack D. Whitfield Professor and H. H. Arnold Chair of Excellence in Advanced Propulsion at the University of Tennessee (2003-2013). Dr. Majdalani is known for his work on acoustic instability theory and vortex-driven rocket engine technology encompassing solid, liquid and hybrid rocket applications. He is presently a Fellow of ASME, Chair of the AIAA Hybrid Rockets Technical Committee (2015-2017), Chair of the Solid Rockets Technical Committee (2017-2019), Chair of the SRTC Awards Subcommittee, Director of Honors & Awards within the Greater Huntsville Section, Associate Editor of the International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion, ISICP President Elect, and AIAA Short Course Instructor.
Dr. Majdalani’s research devotes itself to the computational modeling and optimization of solid, liquid and hybrid rocket engines. His interests span rocket engine design and optimization, rocket internal ballistics, vorticity dynamics, computational mathematics, finite volume methods, and singular perturbation theory. His research activities since 1997 have materialized in over 280 publications in first-rate journals, book chapters, and conference proceedings, mostly in the field of rocket propulsion. His work on helical flow modeling has led to the discovery of new Trkalian and Beltramian families of solutions to describe cyclonic motions in self-cooled, multi-phase liquid and hybrid rocket engines. These have paved the way to understand and optimize a family of cyclonically-driven hybrid and liquid rocket engines. His work on wave propagation has resulted in the development of a generalized-scaling technique in perturbation theory, and of a consistently compressible framework for capturing both vorticoacoustic and biglobal stability waves in simulated combustors. These have led to a new framework for modeling combustion instability in rocket systems. Recently, his work on compressible gas motions has required the inception of a systematic procedure for modeling high speed flow problems. In fact, a total of eighteen dimensionless parameters have been newly identified in the course of his research investigations. These parameters have played a key role in guiding experimental procedures and shaping research investigations that explore the technical benefits of swirl driven rocket engines, thus leading to a ground-up optimization framework that is presently being used by Sierra Nevada Corporation/ORBITEC. This framework starts with CAD drawings, and iterates through a vorticoacoustic solver until a high performance and stable engine is achieved. Throughout his career, Dr. Majdalani has received several professional awards such as: