Scramjet (GRK 1095)


Aero-Thermodynamic Design of a Scramjet Propulsion System for Future Space Transportation Systems



Wolfgang Schröder

Coordinator of the Group at RWTH Aachen University


+49 241 80 95410



Goals of the Research Training Group

The central design problem for future, reusable space transportation systems, as well as for hypersonic flight vehicles, is reliable operation in supersonic combustion mode. This requirement affects the entire vehicle layout.

A scramjet propulsion system is very likely to offer an economic alternative to classical, expendable, and hence expensive rocket driven systems and represents one of the key technologies for hypersonic flight. As a result, the main scientific objective of all projects undertaken under the present Research Training Group (GRK 1095) is to design and develop a scramjet demonstrator.

Development of a Scramjet Demonstrator

This highly interdisciplinary field requires extensive use of experimental, analytical and numerical tools and methods. The demonstrator engine will be completely integrated and will include all required engine components such as forebody, inlet, isolator, combustion chamber, and nozzle.

Several – partly connected – problems in different scientific areas emerge in the design process. In the field of gas- and aerodynamics, for instance, pre-compression of the airflow is in the focus of interest. To be investigated are in particular the unsteady shock-boundary layer interactions in the ramp flow as well as the so called shock train, as the main part of the internal compression. The nozzle flow serves as another example.

  Copyright: GRK 1095 Film Cooling with Helium Injection in a Scramjet: Turbulent Structures and Compression Shocks

In the field of aero-thermodynamics the main research activities are focused on supersonic combustion itself, which is, obviously, one of the key problems of the entire project.

As part of the project, we also conduct materials research. We investigate possibilities to use fibre composites for the thermally highly stressed combustion chamber.

Finally, in several sub-projects, we are concerned with the analysis of the entire system, prepating the highly complex integration of the individual components into the demonstrator.

Training of Young Researchers

Apart from the technical part of the project, the group also takes part in wide-ranging educational programme. As a result, participants have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge on different topics, and the quality of our scientific activities can be enhanced.

A particular feature of the Research Training Group GRK 1095 is the involvement of three German universities as well as the German Space Agency (DLR): scientists of Universität Stuttgart, RWTH Aachen University, Technische Universität München and the German Space Agency at Cologne (DLR) are collaborating on the scramjet project.

Spokesperson and Coordinating University

Spokesperson for the Research Training Group is Professor Bernhard Weigand of the Institute of Aerospace Thermodynamics (ITLR) at the University of Stuttgart.