The de Laval Nozzle

Goddard employed the latest in innovations, including smokeless powders from the Du Pont company. By summer 1915, Goddard had amassed a fine arsenal of varying rockets, concentrating on the

DE LAVAL TURBINE

Exhaust gases become supersonic at throat and beyond

Goddard used the tapering nozzle design of Swedish engineer Carl Gustaf de Laval to improve the efficiency of his rocket engines.

most efficient use of different fuels. His experiments showed that upon converting a fuel source to energy, a disappointing 2 percent of the energy from heat was converted to the kinetic energy used to thrust the jet. Then he discovered an invention by Swedish engineer Carl Gustaf de Laval, a steam turbine that employed jets of steam to turn wheels. It was the tapering design of the de Laval nozzle that defined an increase in efficiency.

As the steam was forced through an ever-narrowing opening, it sped up. Upon surpassing the speed of sound, the conversion of heat energy to motion became highly efficient. De Laval's nozzle design was just what Goddard needed to increase the performance of his rockets, improving thrust from 2 percent to 40 percent. At this time, Goddard's most successful rocket was a powder-fired rocket that reached an altitude of 486 feet (148 m).

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