Worlds of David Darling
Encyclopedia of Science
Home > Encyclopedia of Science

expansion ratio

The ratio between the area of the combustion chamber exit and the area of the nozzle exit. A large expansion ratio improves the performance of an engine in a vacuum since the exhaust is expanded further, thus converting potential energy into kinetic energy. However, at sea level a high expansion ratio can result in flow separation, which can drastically reduce or eliminate the net thrust of the engine.

Related category