A formal research group in Propulsion emerged in the Department of Aeronautical Engineering in the 1960s which focused on combustion and multiphase flow research in propulsion devices. The group readily responded to the needs of ISRO and DRDO whose main thrust was in the development of rocket engines. Fairly extensive work on hybrid rockets was also conducted as an in-house activity. Currently, the propulsion group continues to play an advisory role in many national missions dealing with aerospace propulsion.
At present there are seven faculty members and six laboratories with a focus on Propulsion research. These have varied specializations and expertise, both in experimental and computational studies. Some examples of current research topics are as follows –
- Flame propagation, extinction and ignition in boundary layer flows
- LES/DNS of turbulent combustion
- Physics based, ab initio modelling for combustion instability prediction in rockets and gas turbine engines
- Atomization and spray formation
- Electric propulsion for space applications
- MPD thrusters
- Biomass gasification
- Propellant chemistry.
The group also offers several aerospace propulsion and combustion related courses as part of the academic curriculum of the department.The group’s research is supported by various industry collaborators, Government agencies and the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The research activities of the propulsion group has been recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC) as a Centre of Advanced Studies in this area and by the DST through the establishment of the National center for Combustion Reseatch and Development (NCCRD).