19–22 August 2019
JW Marriott, Indianapolis, Indiana

Hybrid Rocket Propulsion

8-9 July 2017 0800-1700 hrs


This short course is essential for all professionals specializing in chemical propulsion. The mechanisms associated with hybrid combustion and propulsion are diverse and affect our abilities to successfully advance and sustain the development of hybrid technology. It is our ultimate goal to promote the science of hybrid rocketry which is safe enough to be used in both academia and the private sector. A historical demonstration of hybrid rocket capability is the 2004 X-prize winner SpaceShipOne. This technology can also be used in outreach activities when used in conjunction with hands-on design projects and payload launches that involve student teams. Interest in hybrid rocketry can thus be translated into increased awareness in science and technology, helping to alleviate the persistent attrition in our technical workforce. This course reviews the fundamentals of hybrid rocket propulsion with special emphasis on application-based design and system integration, propellant selection, flow field and regression rate modeling, solid fuel pyrolysis, scaling effects, transient behavior, and combustion instability. Advantages and disadvantages of both conventional and unconventional vortex hybrid configurations are examined and discussed.

Key Topics

  • Introduction, Classification, Challenges, and Advantages of Hybrids
  • Similarity and Scaling Effects in Hybrid Rocket Motors
  • Flowfield Modeling of Classical and Non-Classical Hybrid Rockets
  • Solid Fuel Pyrolysis Phenomena and Regression Rate: Mechanisms and Measurement Techniques
  • Combustion Instability and Transient Behavior in Hybrid Rocket Motors
  • Metals, Other Energetic Additives, and Special Binders Used in Solid Fuels for Hybrid Rocket Applications

Who Should Attend

This course is aimed at bringing together professionals with mutual interest in chemical combustion and propulsion, including modern techniques for measuring hybrid rocket performance, flame and flow field modeling, testing, and stability analysis. The purpose is to present and discuss fundamental theory alongside research findings with emphasis on unsolved problems, open questions, and benchmark tests. The course will provide a platform for learning and exchanging hybrid rocket experiences in the hope of stimulating further interactions and future collaborations.


Joe Majdalani is Professor and Francis Chair of Aerospace Engineering at Auburn University. He is known for his work on acoustic instability theory and vortex engine technology encompassing solid, liquid and hybrid rocket applications. Dr. Majdalani is the elected Chair of the AIAA Hybrid Rockets Technical Committee (2015-2017) as well as the Solid Rockets Technical Committee (2017-2019).

Dr. Majdalani's research devotes itself to the theoretical and computational modeling of thermofluid and propulsion systems that are mainly driven by either wall-normal or wall-tangential injection. His interests span both low and high speed fluid mechanics, hydrodynamic and acoustic instabilities, engine internal flowfields, vorticity dynamics, biologically-inspired fractal flows, and singular perturbation theory. His research activities since 1997 have materialized in over 230 publications in first-rate journals, book chapters, and conference proceedings. His work on helical flow modeling has led to the discovery of new Trkalian and Beltramian families of solutions to describe cyclonic motions in self-cooled liquid and hybrid rocket engines, tropical cyclones, and industrial centrifuges. His work on wave propagation has resulted in the development of a generalized-scaling technique in perturbation theory, and of a consistently compressible framework for capturing both vorticoacoustic and biglobal stability waves in simulated combustors. Recently, his work on compressible gas motions has required the development of a systematic procedure for modeling high speed flow problems. In fact, a total of eighteen dimensionless parameters have been newly identified in the course of his research investigations.

Arif Karabeyoglu, President and Chief Technical Officer of the Space Propulsion Group, Inc (SPG), received his PhD from Stanford University in 1998 where he presently holds a Consulting Professorship. He also serves as Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey.

Throughout his career Dr. Karabeyoglu has performed extensive research in the field of hybrid rocket combustion and propulsion ranging from theoretical studies to investigations of practical applications and motor testing. In addition, he has twenty years of experience serving as an instructor at Stanford University where he lectures on a range of subjects such as: Applied Aerodynamics, Rocket Propulsion, and Experimental Aeronautics/Astronautics. In this context, Dr. Karabeyoglu was recognized as the 2005-2006 Outstanding Professor in Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University. On the research side, he has served as Program Manager and Principal Investigator for a number of SPG projects involving the development and testing of hybrid rockets. He has authored a number of journal articles, conference papers, and U.S. patents in the field of rocket propulsion. His work has led to three AIAA Hybrid Rocket Best Papers including a NASA Technical Brief Award. Dr. Karabeyoglu is a former chair of the AIAA Hybrid Technical Committee and serves on the Expert Advisory Board that oversees the development of the SpaceShipTwo propulsion system for the Scaled Composites suborbital spaceplane.

Course Outline

  • Introduction, Classification, and Advantages of Hybrids
  • Similarity and Scale Effects in Hybrid Rocket Motors
  • Analytical Models for Hybrid Rockets
  • Vortex Injection Hybrid Rockets
  • High Speed Flow Effects in Hybrid Rockets
  • Review of Solid-Fuel Regression Rate Behavior in Classical and Non-Classical Hybrid Rocket Motors
  • Solid Fuel Pyrolysis Phenomena and Regression Rate: Mechanisms & Measurement Techniques
    • Propellant Burn Rate
    • Enthalpy Balance Model
    • Correlation of Heat Transfer to Skin Friction (Reynolds Analogy)
    • Longitudinally Averaged Skin Friction
    • Mixture Ratio as a Function of Burn Rate
    • Effect of Port Length on Mixture Ratio
  • Metals, Other Energetic Additives, and Special Binders Used in Solid Fuels for Hybrid Rocket Applications
  • Combustion Instability and Transient Behavior in Hybrid Rocket Motors
  • Large-Scale Hybrid Motor Testing
  • N2O/HTPB Hybrid example
    • Introduction to Chemical Equilibrium Analysis with Applications Code (Cequel/CEA)
    • Exhaust Gas Properties as a Function of Mixture Ratio
    • Transient Response
    • Correlation of Burn Rate to Oxidizer Mass Velocity
    • Hybrid Rocket Throttling and its Applications
  • Flight Testing of Hybrid Powered Vehicles
  • Challenges of Hybrid Rocket Propulsion in the 21st Century

Course Materials

Course notes will be made available about one week prior to the course event. You will receive an email with detailed instructions on how to access your course notes. Since these notes will not be distributed on site, AIAA and your course instructor highly recommend that you bring your computer with the course notes already downloaded. The recommended textbook is Fundamentals of Hybrid Rocket Combustion and Propulsion by M.J. Chiaverini and K. K. Kuo.

Course Registration

Registration options include course only and course and forum together as well as undergraduate and graduates rates. Please click here to register.


Please contact Megan Scheidt if you have any questions about courses and workshops at AIAA forums.

Dates to Remember

  • Abstract Deadline: 31 Jan 2019
  • Manuscript Deadline: 15 Jul 2019

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