Crikey it’s been a while since we updated you all about the Engine Design Project (EDP)!

Well it’s not longer called the EDP, in fact: we’ve rebranded to become a bit more idiosyncratic under the name of the “Rocket Engine Design Project” (REDP).

We’re no longer working on hybrid rocket engines either; that was a crowded market and so we’ve been designing a Microwave Electrothermal thruster (MET) for the past year and a half now. The engine uses the type of microwave source that you find in your domestic microwave oven to generate and maintain a plasma in an argon gas. We’re then using an arrangement of magnetic fields to siphon the thermal energy of those ions and accelerate them to high velocity to produce thrust!

Well, not very much thrust but we’ll take what we can get!

The project is currently broken down into three teams: magnetron and thermal, cavity and magnets, and gas injector teams. The first of these is responsible for making sure that all the parts fit together and that nothing melts, the second does the plasma physics and the brain breaking maths to make the waveguide work, while the gas injector team ensures that we have a uniform flow of propellant and that our fittings match the test facility’s!

Our final device will be approximately cylindrical with a diameter of 150 mm and a length of 250 mm and will consume 900 Watts of electrical power.

This term we’ve come up with some innovative ideas to accomplish our goals, including a heat sink that makes use the specific heat capacity of steel but the high conductivity of copper, allowing us to test safely for longer!

Contact for more information! Happy festivities!