As temperatures in the combustion chamber of a liquid rocket engine during use can exceed 5,000 °F, a large portion of development is often focused on cooling. However, by injecting propellants tangential to the combustion chamber it is possible to create a vortex which separates hot combustion gases from the chamber wall. By studying this mechanism, cooling system complexity can be reduced while increasing engine efficiency.
For students, liquid propulsion research is often inaccessible due to the logistical and safety challenges it poses. The development of a spark-initiated torch ignitor for use in propulsion testing mitigates these concerns by providing researchers with a fail-safe in the case of system failure. In addition, the ignitor provides increased testing reliability with a high-power, automated start sequence. In the future, this ignitor will be integrated in liquid propulsion engines to aid in testing and operation.