Staged Combustion

In a staged combustion cycle, also called a closed cycle, the propellants are burned in stages. Like the gas-generator cycle, this cycle also has a burner, called a preburner, to generate gas for a turbine. The preburner taps off and burns a small amount of one propellant and a large amount of the other, producing an oxidizer-rich or fuel-rich hot gas mixture that is mostly unburned vaporized propellant. This hot gas is then passed through the turbine, injected into the main chamber, and burned again with the remaining propellants. The advantage over the gas-generator cycle is that all of the propellants are burned at the optimal mixture ratio in the main chamber and no flow is dumped overboard. The staged combustion cycle is often used for high-power applications. The higher the chamber pressure, the smaller and lighter the engine can be to produce the same thrust. Development cost for this cycle is higher because the high pressures complicate the development process. Further disadvantages are harsh turbine conditions, high temperature piping required to carry hot gases, and a very complicated feedback and control design.


"Power Cycles | Aerospace Engineering". 2013. Aerospacengineering.Net.