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Radially Compounding Geometry Solid Rocket Motors

Northeastern Researchers have invented a solid rocket motor which performs distinct thrust phases using radially compounding geometries

Published: 21st July 2022
Radially Compounding Geometry Solid Rocket Motors


Model rocket users are limited in design by the engines that are commercially available to them. Solid rocket motors are useful because they are cheap and consistent. However, the current methodology for designing motor thrust/time curves is severely limiting. Custom rocket engines can be produced by the consumer, but the technical difficulty, high up-front cost, and associated dangers push the majority of enthusiasts to rely on purchasing commercial engines. Existing single-propellant constant cross sectional geometry motors, which are the cheapest and fastest to manufacture, are only able to accomplish a small set of thrust-time curve types with at most 2 distinct phases.

Technology Overview

Northeastern researchers have created radially compounding geometries to accomplish any number of distinct thrust phases in a solid rocket motor. By creating radially compounding geometries to control thrust, simple casting and extrusion can still be used to manufacture solid rocket motors with complex geometries. The technology is unique in how it deliberates voids in the propellant grain to increase thrust at certain points over the course of the motor burning.

A robust simulation software was developed to output a grain geometry which will produce the thrust curve that a customer requests. This allows amateur enthusiasts the freedom to design a rocket without the current limits of the market imposed on them. This motor customizability allows amateurs to freely experiment with a larger array of designs, expanding the overall capabilities of the model rocket community. By producing and testing sample motors and collecting empirical data, the software was iteratively improved. The novel grain generation software coupled with the optimized manufacturing process can create an accurate motor for the consumer within one week for 18% less cost to the consumer.


  • Optimized manufacturing process to produce a motor within 1 week
  • Cost to the consumer is 18% less
  • More reliable than existing methods which control thrust by varying propellant grain material
  • Allows for technically infinite complex thrust behavior.


  • Researchers in need of specific thrust/time curve to deploy instruments into the atmosphere can use this technology
  • Model rocket makers can use this technology to make motors that exactly fit their designed rockets
  • The technology can also be used to have specifically calibrated boosters for larger rockets.
  • Companies and Government agencies can use in their production of motors.


Seeking licensee and/or industry partner.

IP Status
  • Provisional patent
  • Development partner
  • Commercial partner
  • Licensing