Design and testing of an OX/CH4 swirl torch ignition system

Gabriel Ricardo Trujillo, University of Texas at El Paso


NASA has renewed its interest in oxygen and methane as propellants for propulsion. Some of the reasons that drive this interest are the ease of storage of liquid methane when compared to hydrogen, the handling safety when compared to hypergols, in-situ resource utilization and its relative clean burning process. This project is part of the larger goal of the Center for Space Exploration Technology Research (cSETR) to better understand the aspects of using this propellants to create future hardware that are specifically optimized for their use. This paper discusses the testing of a previous iteration of the swirl torch igniter with liquid oxygen and liquid methane. The data and conclusions that led to the design of a new iteration of the swirl torch igniter will be discussed. The purpose of the new design is to replace the previous methane manifold used in the two previous iterations, add a new sparking system, and test the Characteristic Chamber Length (L*). The L* was to be analyzed by comparing the performance of two igniters, each with a different chamber length. The data obtained and design changes needed for further testing will be discussed in this document.

Subject Area

Aerospace engineering|Mechanical engineering

Recommended Citation

Trujillo, Gabriel Ricardo, "Design and testing of an OX/CH4 swirl torch ignition system" (2015). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1600352.