We will provide updates, overviews, and summaries of our project on this site. The Project Updates will show a chronological listing of our progress, whereas the rest of the site will be dedicated to describing the project as a whole and the tasks at hand. Do not hesitate to contact the team if you have any questions.

Our Shanahan Proposal requesting $7,630 was officially ACCEPTED. We are funded, and will be proceeding with the project! (30 October 2013)

Project at a Glance:

The Experimental Hybrid Propulsion System is a student driven research project that aims to revitalize interest in propulsion and aerospace research at Harvey Mudd College. To do this, we intend to design, develop, build, and test a feedback control system for a hybrid motor. The ultimate goal is to control the thrust of the motor at any point in time, so that it can be programmed to follow variable thrust curves. Rather than purchasing different fuels, grain configurations, oxidizers, and injectors to fly different
thrust curves, it will be possible to perform multiple experiments that require different thrust curves with a single motor.
 Our overall short term goals include:
  • researching existing designs,
  • creating a ground support station,
  • creating a static test bed, and
  • creating a hybrid propulsion motor.
All of these tasks are non-trivial and necessary for the final assessment. We hope to successfully test a hybrid motor. This motor will be manufactured in the Harvey Mudd College machine shop using stock material. This involves three main components: the oxidizer tank, combustion chamber, and an actuated. The first two items will be purchased or rented for safety reasons, and the latter will require investigation and design consideration.

The fuel used to power the final motor will likely consist of paraffin wax with liquid nitrous oxide as the oxidizer. Paraffin wax has a relatively high density, is cheap, is non-toxic, and readily available with desirable combustion characteristics. We will develop a computational model to aid in the design, produce prototypes to test specific design aspects, and always keep safety in mind.

Stanford Hybrid Motor

Team Composition
The team consists of a variety of majors, years, and even colleges. This is an intercollegiate experiment where Harvey Mudd Students are working with Cornell rocketry students to develop and test the hybrid motor under consideration. Students on the team have all worked with rockets in the past, many on the same team for design challenges. This project is a new obstacle for a much larger team than we are used to, and it will require everyone's help. Please see the People page for some background on the team.


Recent List Items

TitleAssigned ToStatusPriorityDue Date% Complete
Submit Shanahan proposal Christopher 3.) Closed 4.) Critical October 7, 2013 100% 
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Rolling Updates

  • Project Plan has been updated New project plan has been uploaded to Project Documents area.
    Posted Oct 12, 2013, 8:09 PM by Sean M. Messenger
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Recent Files

  • Shanahan Funding Proposal.pdf   187k - Oct 12, 2013, 9:07 PM by Sean M. Messenger (v1)
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Team Calendar