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Monday, May 24, 2004
Armadillo Aerospace News: Bent jet vanes, Liquid catalyst tests
We pulled the engine back off the vehicle to rectify our error of leaving the paper towel plug in the valve top last week. Unfortunately, only half of it was left above the valves, and there were little pieces visible in the spreading plate holes. We decided to go ahead and cut the top plate off so we could clean everything out well, which turned out to be absolutely mandatory, because there were shreds of towel in every single spreading plate hole.
After cleaning everything out, we welded the engine back together and reassembled the engine on the vehicle. We added an extra layer of Teflon sealant around the double O-ring seal between the engine valves and the tank manway. This was the thing we were most worried about sealing, because they are really tiny 1/16” thick O-rings, but it turned out to work perfectly. We tightened up the fittings on the drain valve and pressure gauge, so the plumbing is now leak free except for a tiny drip on the loading connector. Unfortunately, there is a slight leak past both the master cutoff valve and the throttle valve, so propellant trickles into the engine when the tank is pressurized. This will eventually auto-ignite and start heating the engine, which is good from a warmup standpoint, but we think this is also how we cook the cold packs, by having such a low flow rate that actual burning can take place above the flameholder. We usually get these leaks after we drill vent holes in the ball valves, either due to a metal chip or a burr scuffing the seats. I have rebuild kits on the way, but it will be a hassle to dismount everything. Read More
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