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Type of engineering.

  1. May 24, 2014 #1
    If I wanted to work on possible types of nuclear rocket propulsion and ion drives.
    Would I go into aerospace engineering. Could I blend nuclear engineering into it?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 24, 2014 #2


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    There are different types of nuclear fission propulsion concepts, but they basically fall into two categories: 1) direct (nuclear thermal) thrust in which the propellant, most likely hydrogen, is pumped through the core, which is thermally heated, and 2) nuclear electric, in which the nuclear plant provides electricity to drive a plasma system.

    There are also fusion concepts, but controlled thermonuclear fusion has proven elusive.

    One would probably wish to major in either nuclear engineering with the appropriate aerospace engineering courses, or aerospace engineering with the appropriate nuclear engineering or physics courses to support whichever propulsion method one pursues.

    Besides the nuclear reactor theory and radiation physics, much of nuclear engineering involves mechanics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and much of this would be similar to course work in an aerospace engineering.

    Ion propulsion would involve more physics and/or electrical engineering. I believe most nuclear engineering programs involve some basic EE courses in circuit theory and analysis, and electromagnetics/electromechanics, i.e., courses in electrical generation and transformation. One could certainly take such courses as electives in an aerospace engineering program.
  4. May 24, 2014 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Crager, every month you come here with a different career plan. Today it is nuclear rockets. A few months back it was the "study [of] philosophy of physics and math, and logic and paradoxes." If you keep flitting from one highly specialized field to another, you won't make any headway on any of them.

    You were advised to talk to your academic advisor. Did you? What was the outcome?
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