India is the fourth country to demonstrate the flight testing of a Scramjet Engine.
What are Air Breathing Engines?
An air-breathing engine is an engine that takes in air from its surroundings in order to burn fuel.
All practical air breathing engines are internal combustion engines that directly heat the air by burning fuel, with the resultant hot gases used for propulsion via a propulsive nozzle.
A continuous stream of air flows through the air-breathing engine. The air is compressed, mixed with fuel, ignited and expelled as the exhaust gas.
Thrust produced by a typical air-breathing engine is about eight times greater than its weight.
The thrust results from the expulsion of the working gases from the exhaust nozzle.
Ramjet: A ramjet is a form of air-breathing jet engine that uses the vehicle’s forward motion to compress incoming air for combustion without a rotating compressor.
Ramjets work most efficiently at supersonic speeds but they are not efficient at hypersonic speeds.
Scramjet: A scramjet engine is an improvement over the ramjet engine as it efficiently operates at hypersonic speeds and allows supersonic combustion.
Dual Mode Ramjet (DMRJ): A dual mode ramjet (DMRJ) is a type of jet engine where a ramjet transforms into a scramjet over Mach 4-8 range, which means it can efficiently operate both in subsonic and supersonic combustion modes.
Velocity in m/s
Air Breathing Engine provides a technological key for low-cost space transportation system.
The technology is an important step towards developing reusable launch vehicles.
Basically, of the total launch vehicle mass, 86% is propellant mass in the launch vehicle. Out of that propellant, 70% is oxidiser.
These engines can reduce nearly 70% of the propellent carried in the vehicles as these systems use atmospheric oxygen, which is available up to a height of 50km from the earth’s surface.