There has been recently a growing interest in the use of methane as a strong candidate for both interplanetary and descent/ascent propulsion solutions. The higher boiling point and higher density of methane compared with hydrogen, makes its storage tank lighter, cheaper and smaller to launch. Methane is abundant in the outer solar system and can be harvested on Mars, Titan, Jupiter, and many other planets and therefore, it can be used in reusable rocket engines. However, there are still some technological challenges in methane engines development path. Among those challenges, ignition reliability and flame stability are of great importance. These challenges can be addressed by integrating low-temperature plasma (LTP) through repetitive nanosecond pulsed (RNP) discharge to the injector design. This research work focuses on Air/CH4 jet flames in a single-element coaxial shear injector coupled with RNP plasma discharge to study the influence of LTP on ignition characteristics and flame stability using advanced diagnostic techniques. The experiments have been performed for different fuel composition, jet velocities, discharge voltages and frequencies at atmospheric conditions. The transient flame behavior including flame oscillation is studied using direct photography by CMOS high-speed camera. The effect of plasma discharge location on flame stability is also investigated. To demonstrate the effectiveness of RNP discharge on liftoff and blowout/blowoff velocities, the jet velocity at the critical conditions is measured in terms of discharge frequencies and the enhancement of flame stability is then evaluated. The collected experimental data have shown that the RNP discharge can significantly extend the flame stability by reducing the liftoff height and increasing the velocity at which blowout/blowoff occurs.

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