Fuel-cooled thermal management, including endothermic cracking and reforming of hydrocarbon fuels, is an enabling technology for advanced aero engines and offers potential for cycle improvements and pollutant emissions control. The principal engine operability issue that will affect this enabling hydrocarbon fuel cooling technology is coke formation and deposition. Furthermore, the extent to which the benefits of high heat sink cooling technology can be realized is directly related to our ability to suppress coke formation and deposition. The successful implementation of this enabling technology is, therefore, predicated on coke suppression. In situ continuous coke deposit removal by catalytic steam gasification is being developed and successfully demonstrated as a means for suppressing pyrolytic coke deposit in fuel-cooled thermal management systems for advanced aero engines. The objective of this research is to investigate the in situ continuous coke deposit removal by catalytic steam gasification for suppressing pyrolytic coke deposition using a single-tube reactor simulator under representative hypersonic operating conditions. A coke removal system removes coke deposit from the walls of a high temperature passage in which hydrocarbon fuel is present. The system includes a carbon-steam gasification catalyst and a water source. The carbon-steam gasification catalyst is applied to the walls of the high temperature passage. The water reacts with the coke deposit on the walls of the fuel passage side to remove the coke deposit from the walls by carbon-steam gasification in the presence of the carbon-steam gasification catalyst. Experimental data shows the in situ continuous coke deposit removal by catalytic steam gasification is able to reduce coke deposit rate by more than ten times.

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