Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Ismail Celik

Committee Co-Chair

V'yacheslav Akkerman

Committee Member

Donald H Ferguson

Committee Member

Wade Huebsch

Committee Member

John M Kuhlman

Committee Member

Andrew Nix

Committee Member

George A Richards


The increased availability of gaseous fossil fuels in The US has led to the substantial growth of stationary Gas Turbine (GT) usage for electrical power generation. In fact, from 2013 to 2104, out of the 11 Tera Watts-hour per day produced from fossil fuels, approximately 27% was generated through the combustion of natural gas in stationary GT. The thermodynamic efficiency for simple-cycle GT has increased from 20% to 40% during the last six decades, mainly due to research and development in the fields of combustion science, material science and machine design. However, additional improvements have become more costly and more difficult to obtain as technology is further refined. An alternative to improve GT thermal efficiency is the implementation of a combustion regime leading to pressure-gain; rather than pressure loss across the combustor. One concept being considered for such purpose is Rotating Detonation Combustion (RDC). RDC refers to a combustion regime in which a detonation wave propagates continuously in the azimuthal direction of a cylindrical annular chamber. In RDC, the fuel and oxidizer, injected from separated streams, are mixed near the injection plane and are then consumed by the detonation front traveling inside the annular gap of the combustion chamber. The detonation products then expand in the azimuthal and axial direction away from the detonation front and exit through the combustion chamber outlet.;In the present study Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is used to predict the performance of Rotating Detonation Combustion (RDC) at operating conditions relevant to GT applications. As part of this study, a modeling strategy for RDC simulations was developed. The validation of the model was performed using benchmark cases with different levels of complexity. First, 2D simulations of non-reactive shock tube and detonation tubes were performed. The numerical predictions that were obtained using different modeling parameters were compared with analytical solutions in order to quantify the numerical error in the simulations. Additionally, experimental data from laboratory scale combustors was used to validate 2D and 3D numerical simulations. The effects of different modeling parameters on RDC predictions was also studied. The validated simulation strategy was then used to assess the performance of RDC for different combustion chamber geometries and operating conditions relevant to GT applications. As a result, the limiting conditions for which continuous detonation and pressure gain combustion can be achieved were predicted and the effect of operating conditions on flow structures and RDC performance was assessed.;The modeling strategy and the results from this study could be further used to design more efficient and more stable RDC systems.