Talk:SABRE (rocket engine)

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Untitled[edit]

Ok, this piece seems to me to be difficult to write, it's a fairly complex engine, and the information probably isn't complete. But we do the best we can.

I've made some corrections to the piece which I believe are correct. They include:

a) the helium loop is gaseous, not liquid (see section 4.1 JBIS_v57_22-32.pdf)

b) the air isn't separated into nitrogen and oxygen anymore with Sabre, unlike LACE

c) the helium loop isn't pumped, on the contrary it does the pumping ("Brayton cycle"). Check out the diagram 4 and the discussion in section 4.1 in the above document

There's still some stuff I don't know for sure:

I'm still not clear whether SABRE actually liquifies the air- I've a feeling that it only cools and compresses it; but I haven't seen anything written in black and white either way. Liquifying it would probably be a bad idea, since it uses more hydrogen and doesn't actually improve the efficiency. I noticed that the experimental precooler only cools the air down to -80C; AFAIK it's not written in black and white anywhere whether that's the same temperature that they would employ on SABRE, but if so, then that's far too warm to liquify the air.

If anyone knows of a reference we can point to, I'd appreciate it.

Incidentally, it might be a good idea for someone to ask Bond and co. whether we could include their engine diagram and an external view of the engine here- a diagram or two would be very desirable.

-WolfKeeper

---

The only reference I can find on the liquifaction/cooling the air issue is section 4.1, where they talk about an air compressor after the precooler. Given that liquid air is incompressible; this implies that the output from the precooler is gaseous.

-WolfKeeper

---

Actually, there's another, rather clearer description of why SABRE does *not* liquify the air in JBIS_v56_108-117.pdf, page 115.

Given this, I'm going to change the article to remove reference to liquid air with SABRE.

-WolfKeeper.

Looking very good now[edit]

Thanks for the heads up WolfKeeper. I have read the articles in question and I think the article really reflects the actual system much better now.

I do find it interesting that dragging around "dead" engines for much of the flight profile still results in massively better performance overall. But I suppose that should not be expected, after all, we have reheat/afterburners.

Maury 22:21, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

just one comment -80°c may liquify air at high pressure, at Mach 5,and 60,000ft 20,000m the stagnation pressure should be about 31.7 bar stagnation temperature 1335 k (isentropic compresion), liquifyed air (any liquid) is easier to pump up to a high pressure (as they are incompresable), and high presures are important for cycle efichiencies. the problem with liquifying air however is that not all the gasses will condence at the same temperature, and much erosion can be expected if the liquid droplets are traveling at any speed in the heat exchanger. incidently the loss of entropy for such heat exchangers are probably horrific.

They're not going to liquify the air.- (User) WolfKeeper (Talk) 22:02, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
To clarify, the reason for this is that to liquefy the air requires a much larger energy investment, which means a much higher fuel flow that can't actually be burned usefully. Simply cooling the air to very low temperature provides a large reduction in energy for compression, as well as size of compression equipment (due to denser air). Both of these together hugely reduce the engine weight, even with the precooler adding just over a tonne. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 31.205.21.4 (talk) 02:28, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

no sign of ramjet.[edit]

http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/sabre.html

the cycle show a conventional turbojet mode and a rocket mode. there is no direct air to chamber bypass which is what a ramjet is. rather air either enter the turbo or bypass the entire engine in the 3d model. another unusual point is that 'ramjet' was not mentioned once on the official site. therefore is the details on this article correct? no source appears to be given. Akinkhoo (talk) 02:07, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

The diagram as it says, is a simplified cycle. If you read the papers they do describe it- the problem is that the amount of hydrogen you need to boil off to cool the air down is too much to burn in the main engine, and they use a ramjet for that.- (User) WolfKeeper (Talk) 03:43, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Description [inaccuracies][edit]

1) I think that the next statement in the present version of this article is wrong: 'SABRE uses two "pure" rocket engines surrounded by a ring of smaller engines similar to ramjets'.

If you look here: http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/sabre.html (look at the diagram of the engine)

and here: http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/downloads/JBIS_v57_22-32.pdf (read last paragraph in page 29)

it is clear that their design (Reaction Engines Limited's) is not the merge of two different kind of engines, rockets and jets, there is only one, the rocket, but capable of burning either compressed_air+LH2, or LOX+LH2.

In fact they claim that THAT is one of its main advantages, due to the reduction in weight from not having two whole systems, one for the airbreathing mode and another for the rocket mode. The only two main components that dont "double" (don't work in rocket mode) are the precooler and the air turbocompressor.

2) Another statement that I think is wrong, under 'The Engines', it's read: "After being launched and brought to speed by a short burst of the rockets, the jets are started".

In the last link I provided they say that this engine (unlike ramjets) is capable of giving static thrust, that means that it works and give push even at cero speed, so there is no need to use the rocket for takeoff (and of course there are no "jets").

3) And finally, under 'Performance' is this: "The losses from carrying around a number of engines that will be turned off for some portion of the flight would appear to be heavy...".

Again, there are not multiple whole engines in the Sabre design, just one kind with a few added components that only work in the airbreathing mode.

Since I'm not a registered user in this version of the WP I'm not going to make the changes right away, but let you check them up and decide.

Regards. CharlieM. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 62.175.122.58 (talk) 01:13, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

If you look at:

NonFreeImageRemoved.svg

Around the central engine there's all these conical shapes with holes in them. I'm pretty sure that they're flameholders. If you trace the airflow path it comes in around the outside of the heat exchanger after passing through the shock cone.
I'm pretty sure that they're the ramjets- they're used to burn off the excess fuel produced by the hot air boiling the hydrogen off in the heat exchanger. This also matches what is described in Reaction engines literature. These ramjets aren't on the simplified schematic though.- (User) WolfKeeper (Talk) 02:47, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
You might be right, although it's difficult to be sure since the available info is so scarce. What I make of it (see "4.3 SABRE Installation" in pages 31 and 32) is that at low machs the Sabre engine swallows too much air, and that the excess is let to scape through "an internal bypass system" (sic), but first it is mixed with hidrogen and burned. They call it a "bypass burner system" (sic) not a ramjet, and explain that its function is to heat the air so its exhaust velocity is enough to not have a drag effect (so I understand it's not to produce thrust, I suppose the main engine is more efficient at that). Maybe it also doubles as the system to get rid of the excess hidrogen, but that is unclear.
I think the 'bypass burner system' certainly constitutes a ring of ramjets by most people's standards. It gets its compressed air direct from the inlet shock, and it doesn't even go through the heat exchanger, and each one has its own de laval nozzle.- (User) WolfKeeper (Talk) 21:56, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
About the rocket assisted takeoff, according first paragraph on page 29 they contemplated it on the first versions of the Skylon, but later on drop it.
CharlieM.

Was recently discussing this engine with others and noted there was a lot of confusion over how it fundamentally worked. Upon doing some research I found that there were some considerable misunderstandings about the nature of this engine as presented, or at least concepts that could have been explained more thoroughly to avoid confusion. For example little disambiguation between this and so called “LACE” engines. Too much to detail here and discuss so I’ve gone ahead and edited it. The article also needed many more references and inline citations and I hope the reasons for the changes I’ve made are made clear with the references added. If there is consensus that the article now has enough citations can this tag be removed? Until then I’ve added a major revision tag to see what people think about the article.

On another note how appropriate is it that this engine be tagged under the Aviation WikiProject alone? The SABRE engine is designed specifically as a type of rocket engine for use on a single-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle, Skylon (or rather more accurately Skylon is built around the engine!). Skylon like other SSTO’s such as Venturestar/X-33 may look or have flight-profiles similar to aircraft but ultimately they are rocket-based launch vehicles that engage in some degree of spaceflight. Even sub-orbital vehicles like Spaceshipone come under both the Rocketry and Spaceflight WikiProjects as well which I think are at least if not more appropriate for the SABRE engine than the Aviation WikiProject. Anyone else agree? Frodz (talk) 15:23, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Souped Up Classic?[edit]

Pratt & Whitney

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratt_%26_Whitney_J58 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.50.73.119 (talk) 18:10, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

That is a turboramjet, which is different to this this engine. ChiZeroOne (talk) 18:16, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
It's not ridiculous, the engine that lead to the J58 being chosen was originally going to be a hydrogen jet engine, and the hydrogen jet engine research may have indirectly lead to SABRE (or not, you'd have to check with Alan Bond to find out where they got the idea from, but there's a plausible connection there via LACE or otherwise.) So they could be cousins.Rememberway (talk) 20:23, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
No, they couldn't. Not anymore than SABRE is a "cousin" of a prop engine....
Either way this is unbacked speculation and so isn't relevant to the article. ChiZeroOne (talk) 20:34, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Possible cons?[edit]

  • ) What are the failure scenarios for the pre-cooler? How gracefully/gracelessly will the engine fail?
  • ) Is there a critical point in the mode switch where the rocket mode (and the various cycles that are meant to sustain propellant transport within the system) might not "bite"? Again, what is the failure scenario?
  • )Dry Ice formation, the air has carbon dioxide in it and with the proposed temperature in the precooler, it seems like dry ice would form, causing issues with the compressor. — Preceding unsigned comment added by B787 300 (talkcontribs) 04:04, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

I would be happy to see an aeronautical engineer comment on this, even though public sources on how this engine would go arse-up are probably non-existent... (don't get me wrong, I wish this engine to succeed.)88.110.112.185 (talk) 13:58, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Let's have some fact checking[edit]

As I understand it, the SABRE does not liquefy the air. It uses either air that has been cooled to -150°C or it's own internal LOX. The included quote is outdated and inaccurate on multiple points. It should be removed and just say that the tests have been completed.

The Sabre engine "relies on a heat exchanger capable of cooling incoming air to −140 °C (−220 °F), to provide liquid oxygen (LOX) for mixing with hydrogen to provide jet thrust during atmospheric flight before switching to tanked LOX when in space." The autumn 2011 test program will validate that the critical heat exchanger technology can perform as needed for the engine to obtain adequate oxygen from the atmosphere to support the low-altitude, high-performance operation.[15] 98.203.242.147 (talk) 10:50, 16 July 2012 (UTC)Nydoc

The quote originates from the (14) reference, written by Dan Thisdell. A search of his aeospace technical credentials shows that he has none, and is focussed on the business/management side of things. Clearly he didn't understand what he was reading. No practical engine in the world would try to liquify air and then extract the O2 for LOX and dump the remaining 4/5ths N2. The quote, and even the entire reference should be removed from the article and footnotes. It's not enough to have approved publications for reference, their authors should also have relevant experience and expertise in the field. JohndanR (talk) 16:12, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

Assertion checking and scientific method[edit]

Much of this and associated articles seem to be based upon recycling of REL marketing releases and also media articles written by people with no or dubious specific expertise or indeed level of scepticism. Partisan claims of functional capability are presented as fact although they have yet to be established as fact by open scientific peer review or field testing by impartial experts. This may perhaps in part be unavoidable given the proprietary nature of SABRE technology but extraordinary claims require a higher level of proof other than simply accepting company claims to have developed new anti frosting technology which they cannot disclose to the public because it is "secret". It seems unlikely that the difficult, even intractable, problem of avoiding frosting whilst using cryogenic cooling has somehow been solved, solved by a mysterious secret apparatus or process about which they cannot tell us the details for some reason or another, a mysterious secret apparatus or process the details of which cannot even be revealed to the protections of the patent system for fear of something or other. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof and it seems at this stage of not relying upon experts or peer-reviewed science but rather upon dubious media and corporate sources and vague implications of ESA review that this level of proof has not been acquired and that the skylon sabre project may be an upmarket technology financing scam complete with semi-working prototypes. Now it may be possible or even probable that REL has developed a technology or process solution to frosting that they are keeping secret for a legitimate reason such as military secrecy but at this current stage of proof such claims by commercial interests should be treated as the claims that they are rather than as fact and this should be reflected in the article. Theo Pardilla (talk) 08:15, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

The frost issue solving does require independent confirmation - a press release from the company website is not enough. So I just added that. However, slander that the projects could be "financing scam" has no place on Wikipedia talk pages, given the amount of referencable government space agency oversight, readily available BEFORE Pardilla made that comment.

On a different note, a technical lecture by Alan Bond reveals this about Skylon :

  • helium at 1180 Kelvin max temperature - 33min
  • precooler tubes 0.88mm bore diameter, tube wall thickness 30 microns heat exchanger made of Inconel 718 - 38min
  • local crossflow, overall counterflow in heat exchanger

TGCP (talk) 20:43, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

The way he phrased it is not slander and in fact any intelligent person with a good grounding in aerospace technology will have had similar misgivings.89.168.178.139 (talk) 15:05, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but he has no proof that it is a financing scam and as such does count as slander. The idea is to report facts, it is not a fact that it is a scam and it is not a fact that they have solved the frosting. 109.153.102.95 (talk) 15:46, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
He said "it may be a scam" - how is that slander? I think that the engineering guys involved in SABR genuinely want to pull it off, but I'm not so sure about their CFO...137.205.183.114 (talk) 10:58, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
Thank you. It is an indirect fact that frosting has not been solved in flight, as tests were done on ground. However it is a fact, and has been for several days before 5 December, that ESA managed and approved the precooler test results. However again, this article does rely heavily on primary sources and steps should be taken to solidify it - although this has been discussed before. TGCP (talk) 22:43, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
Interview with ESA's Mark Ford - in April, before test; could show intentions of test. May or may not be relevant for refs. TGCP (talk) 23:54, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
I would note that the precooling frost issue has been solved in a confirmable manner previously, by methanol injection into the airflow prior to the precooler, which is a known antifreeze agent. This was used on Japan's ATREX precooled turbojet. It is unlikely SABRE uses this mechanism specifically, but similar chemical methods may be employed, perhaps as simple as an antifreeze coating layed onto the inconel tubing. The fact that "the problem has not been solved" doesn't mean we have no idea how to solve it - just that no-one has yet made a practical implementation. We also know that with how much this project will cost, it is highly unlikely the ESA would be giving their approval if they had not seen the antifreeze mechanism explained and proven. 31.205.21.4 (talk) 02:53, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
Whilst it is helpful to be aware of these existing technical methods I am yet to be convinced. Speculating on the methods, professionalism, expertise, integrity, processes, staff, project management, auditing or other internal processes within the ESA generally, much less the single point of 'likelihood' about this specific project is simply an appeal to authority. As we know almost nothing about the ESA's specific detailed relation to this project such speculations are just that, speculations at best or wishful thinking.Theo Pardilla (talk) 14:22, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
REL do intend to use methanol, as did Atrex. This list of patents may be relevant to show intentions, but is not a source for feasibility. TGCP (talk) 21:09, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

Air pressure drops ... more air passed into compressor[edit]

As the craft ascends and the outside air pressure drops, more and more air is passed into the compressor as the effectiveness of the ram compression drops.

Does that sentence make any sense?WithGLEE (talk) 21:43, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

Why banana shape?[edit]

Is there anything in the sources which explains why it is banana shaped Petecarney (talk) 06:40, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

something like this "the vehicle flies at 7 degrees angle of attack to create lift, so the intake is pointed down so it points directly into the air stream, and the nozzle needs to angle into the center of mass since it's mounted below the center of mass, and that also is at 7 degrees, the resulting shape looks like a banana, but it's for sound reasons." from a comment from Skyhawk551 on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2G-HPHNrrLQ Matt Whyndham (talk) 10:04, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

SABRE 3 to SABRE 4[edit]

It seems to me the article appears to have been written mostly around the SABRE 3 concept. More details are becoming available about the SABRE 4, some of which may already have made their way into the article. Some of the information understood about SABRE 3 (e.g. the common combustion chamber) is not believed to be correct for SABRE 4. How should we manage the transition? 80.90.193.161 (talk) 09:57, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Put in sub-headings for SABRE 3 and SABRE 4. Since you know the difference between the two, you're best placed to make the changes - so get too it! FOARP (talk) 10:36, 8 September 2015 (UTC)

EU-approved funding[edit]

I cannot find any information as to whether the £50 million funding from the UK government approved by the EU commission was in addition to the £60 million already announced or was the actual sum finally committed by the UK government. Anyone have anything on this? In the one case this means that the UK government will have committed £110 million to this project, in the other it will have committed only £50 million. FOARP (talk) 10:32, 8 September 2015 (UTC)

Comparisons to ramjet/scramjet engines[edit]

I believe it somewhat misleading to compare the sabre engine to ramjet and scramjet engines as the latter are only suitable for atmospheric flight.

Parts of the article seem to be worded more like an advert or promotional for the sabre engine rather than statements of fact. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 49.199.163.151 (talk) 20:23, 20 September 2015 (UTC)

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One of the greatest technology breakthroughs?[edit]

Here we have a precooler that "cools air from 1000 degrees to -150 in fraction of a second."

Now, I have an air conditioner that struggles to cool a room full of air from 90°F to 80°F in one hour -- and consumes a lot of energy while doing so.

The SABRE somehow does much more cooling, much faster, on a much larger quantity of air.

Is it not therefore notable for being one of the greatest technology breakthroughs of all time? Shouldn't the article point that out? 199.46.196.231 (talk) 20:59, 18 May 2016 (UTC)

Agree you're welcome to edit the article to reflect this.Quantanew (talk) 16:14, 20 May 2016 (UTC)
No, not unless there are reliable sources that actually make that claim. - BilCat (talk) 16:21, 20 May 2016 (UTC)
No. I noticed that before but did not think of it as "the greatest technology breakthroughs of all time". I can't see how to mention that without a promotional tone or without a reliable third-party source that relates this to the expected thrust. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 16:24, 20 May 2016 (UTC)
A lot of time and energy are invested in liquefying and further chilling hydrogen before it is is stored in the tanks for the engine. This "stored cold" is used to cool the air. The breakthrough is the speed with which the heat exchanger is capable of moving the heat from the air to the helium (which is then cooled by the hydrogen), and that it can do so without icing up 82.22.197.128 (talk) 03:16, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

This could still be properly remarked without sounding promotional, the quality of the advancedment is clear, there is nothing like it elsewhere. In regard of sources the currently available sources explain the works perfectly. Quantanew (talk) 16:45, 20 May 2016 (UTC)

We still need a reliable source, preferably several high-quality sources, that actually claim it's one of the greatest technology breakthroughs, not just that "explain the works". - BilCat (talk) 17:07, 20 May 2016 (UTC)
The article already states "SABRE dramatically cools the air from 1000 °C down to −150 °C [...]." Yes, the subsystem is highly efficient and secret/patented, but not even the manufacturer claims that their cooler is the 'greatest technology breakthrough'. That is YOUR perception and POV. All articles should remain free of such sensational claims. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 17:21, 20 May 2016 (UTC)
Thanks Quantanew, that's what I was getting at. Without sounding "promotional," there ought to be a way to convey how remarkable this technology is. Although it's clear to me that this is "one of the greatest technology breakthroughs," I'm not advocating use of that particular phrase. But merely using the word "dramatic" does not adequately convey what has been achieved. - The IP formerly known as 199.46.196.231 199.46.249.145 (talk) 00:07, 13 August 2016 (UTC)
We may talk about how "remarkable" this technology is when/if it gets to fly as described. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 00:21, 13 August 2016 (UTC)

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ESA, has invested €10 million so far and performs technical oversight role on behalf of UKSA[edit]

Thanks for your improvements, user:Quantanew this article is in need of maintenance. My objection to this is mostly due to the oversight role played by ESA being longer running than this individual item, and more complex. In addition, The funding issue is more complex. finally WP:OSE isn't a defence. Stgpcm (talk) 08:44, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

Nothing of what you said supports the removal of funding levels or the oversight role. Your objection is personal and not based on facts. Please provide facts and sources for the removal of information. Your WP:OSE comparison is lacking you are not the judge to determine what's valid or not. Up to date funding levels is relevant to the development. This and other funding sources are the reason development is happening, this doesn't happen for free. I hope we can keep this information and reach an amicable conclusion.Quantanew (talk) 01:14, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
The over-simplification on oversight makes it misleading. The information doesn't belong where you have put it. I'd be very pleased if you could do a proper write-up on the long-running role ESA has played in the Reaction Engines story (although that should probably go in the Reaction Engines Page) - declaring no impediments gave the company greater credibility; LAPCAT paying for helium turbine investigations; S-ELSO paying for audited development, infrastructure, and operation costs; et cetera.
Funding is very important, the lack of it has delayed progress enormously.
The 10 million Euros you are trying to add has already been includedin "In June 2013 the United Kingdom government announced further support for the development of a full-scale prototype of the SABRE engine,[30] providing £60M of funding between 2014-2016[31][32] with the ESA providing an additional £7M.[33] The total cost of developing a test rig is estimated at £200M" - your entry could cause people to think this is separate funding.
Most of the funding information is on the Skylon (spacecraft) page (it *should* be on the Reaction Engines Limited page, and referenced both there and here, otherwise the information becomes disjointed and out-of-sync, leading to lower quality information). However, even if you argue that this piece funding information should be on this page, it shouldn't be scattered throughout the article, and shouldn't be in a "development" section.
The over-simplified 10 million Euros investment statement you provided, suggests Reaction Engines have been given 10 million Euros by ESA from its own funds, rather than ESA providing 10 million Euros worth of support to REL including overseeing the demonstrator engine test, that support being funded by the UK government.
I'm as much an arbiter of what shouldn't be in the article as you are of what should be in it. This whole page is a relatively low quality entry, with lots of mess from organic growth and needs a lot of cleaning up, but that doesn't mean it's OK to add misleading information.

Stgpcm (talk) 16:57, 22 March 2019 (UTC)