Performance of Additively Manufactured Fuels for Hybrid Rockets Academic Article uri icon


  • Hybrid rocket engine (HRE) performance is dependent on fuel/oxidizer selection and fuel grain geometry. A literature review was performed to identify key trends and findings related to the application of the additive manufacturing (AM) of fuel systems for HREs. The effects of complex combustion port geometries, embedded structures, and end-burning systems, along with the use of metallic additives, turbulators, diaphragms, gel-like fuels, powdered fuels, liquid fuels, and liquifying fuels and their impact on regression rates, combustion efficiencies, and/or mechanical strength are thoroughly documented here. In general, the application of AM to HRE fuels can be implemented to increase regression rates and combustion efficiency, and tailor HRE designs. Chemical equilibrium analysis computations were completed to characterize the theoretical performance of HTPB and common AM fuels (ABS, PLA, PC, PMMA, Nylon 6, and a UV-based fuel) with common oxidizers (LOX and N2O). AM fuels exhibit a similar theoretical performance as the commonly used HTPB fuel, and proper selection of the fuel can yield improved performance and design metrics. Development of AM approaches for HRE fuel design have significantly expanded their design trade space and should enable the competitive application of HREs for future propulsion missions.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Nguyen, C., & Thomas, J. C.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Nguyen, Calvin||Thomas, James C

publication date

  • 2023