Jets In Space

Revolutionizing Propulsion Systems: An Inside Look with OpenFOAM

In this episode of Jets in Space, host Alfred Belen and intern Aabhushan Regmi update listeners on the team’s progress in creating an internal atmosphere propulsion system using OpenFOAM. They discuss the steps taken so far, such as narrowing down the geometry and CAD models.The potential of an all-electric propulsion system is also explored, along with the technical aspects of its development. Join in the conversation and follow along as we design and build our first IAP prototype.


  • (01:37) – Aabhushan’s background in engineering and Open FOAM.
  • (05:44) – overview discussion on variables that we can change within the IAP system and thrust generation.
  • (11:41) – Changes in atmospheric pressure and how it affects thrust generation.
  • (13:51) – Reaching the sonic barrier on spinning fan blades
  • (16:06) – Is there a limit on how many engines we can add to the system?
  • (19:52) – The challenge of designing and connecting opposing corridors.

Resources Mentioned:

Podcast Production Services by EveryWord Media


[00:00:00] Alfred Belen: Welcome to this exploration of an exciting and potentially revolutionary new propulsion concept that may help accelerate our journey to the stars. Please join us as we discuss scientific concepts in this forum we call jets in space.

[00:00:37] So welcome back to Jetson Space episode 14. We have our very special guest today. Our first intern for bell and Aerospace is Abu Reme, hopefully I pronounce that name right. But I’ll let I’ll let you pronounce your name there. If if I mispronounce it. I apologize. Yeah, you pronounced I did.

[00:00:55] Okay, great. Okay, so we were very happy to ask Buchan to be our, our intern, and he’s done wonderful things in regards to. Getting our concept is closer to to a proof of concept with open foam. So it’s actually, if you remember the previous episode with Dr. Naji. He is our consultant in regard to open foam.

[00:01:16] And, and Vashan is our intern in regards to open foam. So we’re gonna just Delve into what we’ve been doing so far over the past several weeks, and also, you know, just a little background on Buchan because, you know, we’re, we’re very happy to have him as our intern. So, Buchan, why don’t you take it away and just explain, you know, a little bit of your background in regards to Engineering and open phone.

[00:01:36] Aabhushan: Okay, so hello everyone. So my name is Aabhushan Regmi and I’m thrilled to be a guest on Jets in Space the podcast where we explore the latest and the greatest in space technology. I did my bachelor’s , I did my bachelor’s degree from Triva Univers. Where I worked on the air admission system in Francis Turbine if you don’t know, Francis Turine is a turbine that you use to produce hydroelectricity in an hydro power plant.

[00:02:05] So after that I got into my master degree here at I Bombay, and I gained experience in simulation of vortex induced vibration, also known as v I v. Insert. For context, v i v is a phenomena. Causes vibration of the iCal objects when flow moves across it. So I started this phenomena to hardness it’s movement, it’s vibration for electricity generation.

[00:02:31] Currently, with the past month, I’ve been working with the team on cutting edge research for our internal atmosphere propulsion. But in using open form. So if you don’t know, open form is a very powerful computation dynamic software. Apart from that, I also create spoken tutorials. These are designed to help other learn this complex software, and it’s truly an honor to be here today and save my thoughts with all of you.

[00:02:59] And let’s tell about what progress we have made so far as I working here. So, I’m happy to say that in source saw duration of only a month we have made significant progress. So the main progress would be that we have narrowed down the geometry and the CAD models, especially managed to construct the structure that connects the.

[00:03:20] First generating corridor with our gas returning corridor. There is still a lot of work to be done in this structure. So as we go through different simulation, in future, we will have to reiterate the CAD designs. So yeah. And right now we are currently working on missing the whole geometry.

[00:03:38] And if you don’t know what missing is missing is like dividing our whole geometry into finite small, small space, strong surface space that we called finite volume cells. And the c p software, the open form that we are using is actually solving flow s especially in equation in this individual cells to calculate velocity, pressure, and temperature and any other parameters that we would like to find out.

[00:04:04] So we have a fan agent in our geometry. In between there somewhere. and so that needs to be modeled. We cannot just model a whole moving fan with cumbersome and nose all everything because that would be like doing whole another Project . So what we are using is we are using a mathematics to actually model the effect of that fan.

[00:04:24] So we are going through two different route. One is source and other is fan condit. And both of them are somewhat similar, but the former one, the rotor disc source is somewhat accurate. But it requests that we know the blade profile of the fan, but we don’t know. So I think we are referencing G 19.

[00:04:45] But we don’t know the proprietary information that involves the geometry of the fan bed. We can go through some approximate, the approximate geometry. And the other way of modeling fan would be , like technically known as fan boundary condition. And we are currently using this to simulate our, we are planning to use this for our future simulation.

[00:05:05] And I think this pace of zone conditions should be sufficient for our stimula. This is the work that has been done till now I’m sure in the future we’ll, we will encounter different challenges and we’ll just move one after another.

[00:05:18] Alfred Belen: No, that’s great. No, I like, I, this is so much farther than I thought we would be at this point in time, so, no, I, you know, like I said in the, the open phone models that we have, we’ll, we’ll try and share some images on the links to the podcast if people wanna look at like, kind of some visual kind of descriptions of what we’re talking about here.

[00:05:34] But, but yeah, no, I mean Some of the information you shared with us thus far is definitely interesting. And then one of the things that you shared in I think it was. , it was a data file that she sent with me that in just regard to the Turbofan engine, the GE nine or the nine x or 90 you, you showed on that diagram that 85% of the thrust is produced by, by the fan blade.

[00:05:56] And only like 15% of the thrust is produced by the, the inner core, which is the turbine. So, and then one of the, the biggest things is, you know, we’re, we’re trying to remove the internal combustion component. So even if we get 85% thrust from our fan blade, if it’s all electric, And this would change the dynamic of the thrust in regard to like most, like, and if you listen to the earlier episode of the podcast, most of the, most of the propulsion in, in, in a normal atmospheric environment is, is some type of internal combustion.

[00:06:23] But if we remove that internal combustion component and make it all electric, then, then that could be an. A, a very different type of propulsion, which can be used underwater. It can be used in the vacuum of space because we’re not relying on like the outside environment. We’re relying, as the name implies, on the internal environment to produce the thrust.

[00:06:41] So hopefully a game changer in regards to propulsion. But yeah, no, everything that you said is, is very exciting in regards to, you know how we’ve progressed from just the concept to talking to you and Yep. And some of this will be kind of described on the. On the diagram. So and you might have heard buchan talk about thrust generation corridors and atmosphere return s or gas return corridors.

[00:07:03] So these are some of the things that we’ve had in our model where certain of certain volume of gas is within a enclosed container. And then we’re, we’re producing thrust in, in, in our, in our model four. Thrust generation corridors, and then the gas is being compressed and expanded and then it’s producing the thrust.

[00:07:21] And, but there’s, there’s gonna be a great, I I, I’m hoping, I’m sure there, there is a way, like in some point in the future where we can make like a, like a little kind of simp simplistic or video where it’s showing like the pressure gradients within the system and whatnot, and the flow of the gas within the system, which, which would for some people would be easier to kind of visualize.

[00:07:40] The whole concept of what we’re doing here, but but yes, it’s very exciting, you know? And, and one of the things, you know we wanted to talk about as well. I know you’ve, you’ve gone over a lot of the dynamics in regards to how we’re modeling the, the ver the different variables and some of the things we wanna look at.

[00:07:55] You know, if we, we can get from the open phone, I think we will be able to, is. Thrust numbers and whatnot. And one thing I’m kind of curious, and I brought this up, I don’t know if you heard the previous podcast with with Dr. Naji, but, but some of the variables we could do, you know, like varying there’s gonna be pressure gradients within.

[00:08:13] within the system. So, you know, and, and most of the things that we are looking at in regards to like turbo fan technology there’s some variation, you know, in the, the dynamics of airflow in a normal atmospheric environment based on the air pressure, like at at sea level versus the air pressure at 30,000 feet.

[00:08:32] So that kind of varies in regards. I’m sure Bashan knows that as well, the profile of the thrust. Dependent upon the pressure at, in the atmosphere, which it varies at different levels in within the atmosphere. So, but because we’re in a closed system, we have the ability to change those and or maintain the pressure within the system a little bit more consistently.

[00:08:54] So I just a, a brief example. You know, when, when you’re taking off from an airport, there’s a certain, there’s, you know, normal atmospheric pressure at, at sea level, let’s say one atmosphere, but as higher up, you go into the, at. The air pressure decreases. So the performance of the Turbo Fan is variable based on where you are in the atmosphere.

[00:09:12] If you’re like low to the ground, there’s a thicker atmosphere, but if you’re higher in the atmosphere, it’s getting really thin. So the performance of the Turbo Fen is affected by the thinness, so to speak, of the atmosphere within our system. We could make a very thin atmosphere, we could make very thick atmosphere.

[00:09:27] It all depends on what we’re looking for in regards to thrust production. The other thing we can vary, which I’ve talked about with Dr. Naji, is varying the type of gas, cuz you know, we’re, we’re within an oxygen nitrogen atmosphere. You know, most of that is nitrogen. And there’s certain, and this is maybe definitely a future kind of a model.

[00:09:46] There’s certain properties of the gas that affect compressibility and other things in regards to performance. So the good thing within the closed system, if we wanted to, I don’t know how expensive it would be. We, I talked to Dr. Naji about even like. Using a, a different type of gas, like a noble gas, like argon, which might have different compressible properties.

[00:10:05] But that’s some of the things we’re looking at. Maybe in the future, you know, we could vary the, the type of gas that’s in the system. We can, we can vary the like I said, the, the thickness of the gas in regards to the, the resting pressure of the gas. So, and I honestly don’t know if that will affect like the thrust profile that’s produced.

[00:10:23] The great thing about the controlled system, you know, in an enclosed system is we have the ability to kind of change those variables a lot easier compared to like in a normal, atmospheric kind of environment where it’s very difficult to change, you know, the composure of the, of the gas within our atmosphere.

[00:10:39] And then, you know, like I said the different varying types of air pressure based on where you are in the, in the thickness of the atmosphere based on your elevation and whatnot. So, but, but those are the, some of the things that we’re looking for in the future. And I just wanted to get your, your thoughts on that, Buchan.

[00:10:52] Do you think that that would have some significant or maybe only minor effects on unlike thrust generation?

[00:10:59] Aabhushan: Of course it’ll have some significance because the aircraft engines, they are designed to operate at the cruise altitude, which is higher ed, so, I don’t know, 30,000 feet. So where the air is a lot less denser than the one at the sea level.

[00:11:13] So, so if you were to decrease the internal pricer we will definitely get more thrust from the same amount of energy. But however, I think there’s a limit to it. What comes into my mind is the Ingenuity helicopter the, the first drone that was flown in the mass. So Mars has roughly I dunno the exact number, but the atmosphere over there is very deep.

[00:11:35] Oh, interesting. So I remember, yeah, I remember the article on. The scientists who build the ingenuity helicopter, they were really struggling because the air over there is so thin that they had to spin the blade in a very high RPM than the usual drone that we operate in. Interesting uh, earth. So, so this is a limit.

[00:11:54] So if you were to decrease the atmospheric pressure or density there will be some optimum point where we, we, we could get the most out of the system, but after some period we’ll start to lose. So yeah, there’s, oh, that’s good. And regarding about the, using different properties, the gas properties, using a completely different This is something interesting, but we would have to do some simulation and figure out what works the best.

[00:12:19] So if you are using compressible solver, I think the flow would be compressible. Then the density of course, plays the role, but. To see up to what extent it plays their own. We we’ll have to this, to some simulator and find out Oh,

[00:12:32] Alfred Belen: that’s awesome. No, I didn’t even know like that they’d had drones flying in bars.

[00:12:35] So that’s how you educated me today. That’s awesome. So I didn’t think the atmosphere was thick enough, so, but I know, I know there is an atmosphere. I don’t know, like specifically like a fraction of what it is here on, on earth and whatnot. But but the other thing that you, you mentioned in a, in an email to me, which I didn’t know, which you, which you gave me a great piece of information is, When you’re spinning the fan blades, there’s only a certain amount, or you can spin it, and then at some point it reaches the sonic barrier and then you can’t spin it any faster.

[00:13:00] Could you, could you talk to our audience about that a little bit?

[00:13:04] Aabhushan: So if you were to increase the RP of fan blade, of course you’ll get modes first of out it, but there’s a limit. So, so the tip velocity is like omega times R methodically. So Omega is the rotational angler velocity and R is the radi.

[00:13:21] So at some certain point your typicality, it reaches the sound barrier. So it’ll go supersonic, then it’ll start to create sock whips and that softwares is gonna interact with the, the blade that is coming from the behind. So it’s gonna interact with that. So that will create a lot of drag and it’ll interact with the blades that is spinning, and it’ll significantly reduce the thrust that is being generat.

[00:13:46] So, so we have a limit on up to how much speed we can increase the RPM of a fan blade. And,

[00:13:52] Alfred Belen: and the other thing I know just from like general reading and whatnot, and the speed of sound varies on the. Density of the air as well, because I think the speed of sound, it’s sea level. Yeah. Density and temperature.

[00:14:02] So breaking the sound barrier at a lower density is you have to have a higher speed. Cause I know it’s sea level mock is 600 miles per hour, something like that.

[00:14:12] Aabhushan: Yeah. It’s 300 meter per second. Around 330, something like that. So if the density is less I believe the speed of mark will. So so if you are, if you’re at the higher, you can go much faster.

[00:14:26] Alfred Belen: Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, so I wanna say like, you know, 300 meters per second at sea level, but then maybe it’s like 400, 500 at. like 30,000 feet, something like that. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, so, so that, that, that too, you know, like, again, the density of the, the gas is gonna affect like how fast we can spin the blades before it reaches at like that sonic barrier or whatnot.

[00:14:46] So, but yeah. But that’s very interesting kind of, you know, geeking out on the, on the physics of it. That’s kind of cool. The, we could do all that. The other question I had for you cuz you know, we we’re Beijing, our model on. I was telling Buchan in the email, like a 7 47, you know, 7 47 has four engines, it has a fuselage.

[00:15:05] And then, you know we’re, we’re basing our, our kind of our initial data on that, but we’re making it an enclosed system. But, you know, 7 47 has four engines. One question I had, is there a limit in how many engines we could add to the system? So let’s say for the, size thrust corridor. Currently we have, you know, four thrust quarters and one gas return quarter.

[00:15:27] Yeah, we need to double that. Eight. Eight turbo fan engines and then the same geometry. Would that be possible? Would that in of, of course, it would increase the thrust because you have more thrust generating quarters. Is there a limit to how much we could kind of add on the number of thrust generating quarters before it becomes.

[00:15:48] No return for any more engines that we add, so to. So,

[00:15:52] Aabhushan: Like if everything was perfect there would not be any limit. But of course the gas that is coming from the is anything quarter, it has to be return back to the gas returning quarter, right? So it all depends on the structure, like how we design it.

[00:16:07] So how percent it is in redirecting that flow in 180 degree direction. Right? So yeah, if you’ll able to do like in a smooth way yeah, it is possible to add as much insulin as possible, but that will log in give load to our gas returning corridor. It, it has to get big, right? So if you were to add.

[00:16:26] Let’s say eight or 10. Then the dimension of the, the radius of the gas encoder, it has to increase it, it has to account for the more air coming inwards. So that will just increase the size of our whole geometry, right? That may lead to more drag if, if you are flying inside atmosphere. But since we are talking about space we don’t really care about drag.

[00:16:46] So, yeah, theoretically it’ll increase, but we have to think about how we are going to return that, all that gas going from the thrusting. Gas returning corridor. Yeah. If it will be done very efficiently, we can just add as much as we want. , of course that’s not the case. We’ll just have to simulation and then design different ways to redirect it and find out.

[00:17:06] Yeah,

[00:17:07] Alfred Belen: no, no, that’s, that’s interesting just because you know, I, I know like I, I don’t know if there’s, I, I don’t wanna say like, I dunno if you were kind of aviation history buff, but I Some, I don’t know. There’s a Russian cargo plane that has like six Turbo fans, and I think the Spruce Goose, which was a propeller.

[00:17:23] I think it had six or eight too. But I mean, there, there have been, you know, more than four engines on an, on an aircraft in the past. Just, but no, no, just, you know, like I said, but if there’s if there’s any benefit to adding more, then of course I, I’d like to look at that in a simulation. But, but no, I, I, I’m so happy with how we’ve progressed so far, thus far in regards to what.

[00:17:42] We’re coming up against in regards to getting the initial open foam simulation up and running. So, but yeah, those are some of the things that we’re, you know, interested in in the future. But for any of you guys in the audience, if you wanna. Ask questions in regards to what other types of modifications might be interesting to you.

[00:17:58] You know, just go ahead and send a comment our way and we’d be happy to, to try and address that if we can. But but yeah, in general, you know, we’re, we’re very excited about the progress we’ve made. Hopefully this is interesting information for you guys as well. We’re also gonna add some diagrams and images to the, the podcast for your.

[00:18:17] And then we’re always looking for your, your support. However you guys wanna support us by listening to the podcast, by communicating with us if there’s investors out there that are looking to invest, we’re, we’re happy to communicate with you regards to collaboration to move this project forward.

[00:18:32] Aabhushan: Yeah. So one of the I will talk, I, I will try to talk about one of the challenges on the structure that we built on first the entering colder connection between post colder and the gas returning corridor. So the current the problem that we may face in the future is that there are two opposing firsts entering corridor that is redirecting the flow through the gas returning corridor.

[00:18:54] So it just may happen that the flow from the two opposing thirsts renting corridor that may just collide with each other and it may cause turbulence and the flow Rev. This is something that we definitely don’t want. So Dr. Nagi, he has suggested to connect the at an angle. So, yeah, we’ll, in future we’ll have to do some design integration at what is the optimum angle for connection between the.

[00:19:22] And our gas returning. Yeah. This is some, this is one of the challenge that we’ll be facing in future. Yeah, I was just talking about it.

[00:19:28] Alfred Belen: No, that’s awesome. Yeah. Cause I think that’s my biggest issue too, is like how do we turn the gas around 180 degrees, like you said, without causing turbulence and without causing any kind of, Undue unnecessary forces within the system that could, could throw off the propulsion and whatnot.

[00:19:42] So, but yeah, no, this is, I’m glad that you guys are, are looking into that because I’m kind of curious how, how it will run as like a whole unified system and whatnot. And Bashan, if you want, talk about any other projects you’re doing, you don’t wanna promote your website or if you have anything like that, we’re always happy to let you.

[00:19:59] Have like a couple of moments just to promote whatever you wanna promote in regards to , your own project that you’re doing. Sure. If there’s anything like that you wanna do, if you don’t, that’s fine too.

[00:20:07] Aabhushan: Okay. So like I told earlier during my introduction, I created spoken tutorials, and this is spoken tutorials.

[00:20:13] We have tutorials for different software, Python, D w, dwc, and open form is one big part. And I look after the intermediate and advanced level tutorial for our spoken tutorials. You can find it in spoken tutorial So there you can just go there and select upon form. So right now we have tutorials.

[00:20:33] Just for the basic part we are rolling out tutorials for the intermediate part as well. And apart from that, we also conduct workshop. It is quite famous here in India, so this, this January we did one workshop for 250 students. Nice. It was great. It was excellent so far the feedback of the students that attended it.

[00:20:51] So yeah, you can go to the website and take a look.

[00:20:53] Alfred Belen: If you have like a link to a website, a link to your tutorials or anything like that, then we’ll add that all in the show notes. And then if anyone who’s actually listening to the show and looking for more information, then they can go to the show notes and find all that information there.

[00:21:08] But, but yeah. Thanks. Thank you for, for doing this podcast.

[00:21:11] Aabhushan: Thank you. And thank you for inviting me. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:21:18] Alfred Belen: Thank you for listening to this latest episode of Jetson Space. There are numerous ways that you can help us out. Number one, you can subscribe to this podcast. Number two, you can check out our website, bell and Number three, you can make a prototype I a P model at home. Number four, you can support us financially on Patreon at Patreon slash Jetson space.

[00:21:44] Number five, tell your friends about us and send them to this podcast and our website. Number six. If you have friends and or family who work in the aerospace industry, talk to them about this concept and ask them to check out our materials as well. Number seven, help us find companies who make airtight containers, turbine engines, electric motors.

[00:22:04] And any manufacturers who may be able to help us move I a P forward. Number eight, I would love to interview aerospace engineers, aerospace enthusiasts, officials at nasa, SpaceX, anyone who can help us move our project forward. Number nine. If you know any investors, venture capitalists, sharks from the Shark Tank, please send them our way.

[00:22:24] We’ll be happy to let them invest in this project. And finally, number 10, as a Catholic Christian, I would also personally greatly appreciate your prayers for this endeavor. Until the next episode, let’s dream of the stars.