Basic Study on Thermodynamic Vent System in Propulsion System for Future Spacecraft

Abstract

In planned planetary explorations, cryogenic liquids such as liquid hydrogen (LH2), liquid oxygen (LOX), and liquefied natural gases (LNG) are used as fuel and oxidants in the propulsion systems of spacecraft. Such explorations require long-term storage for those cryogens, as well as heat insulation technology to protect the heat from the outside and pressure control technology to suppress rises in pressure due to evaporation gas in the propellant tank. However, current vent systems that discharge the evaporated gas to the outside of the spacecraft are suboptimal, for the propellant’s uncertain position in the tank when spacecraft operate in microgravity environments causes the significant loss of propellant during venting. In response, we examined a method using jet mixing in a thermodynamic vent system (TVS) that adjusts the tank pressure by cooling the inside of the tank and reducing boil-off gas. To that end, thermal and fluid analyses were conducted to design a test tank system before the ground verification test of the TVS using liquid nitrogen (LN2) as the simulated cryogen. To evaluate our results, we compared experimental and numerical results regarding the formation of thermal stratification. The experimentally performed verification of the TVS function revealed that jet mixing can lower the liquid’s temperature in the tank after the experimental apparatus was modified to supply a stable subcooled mixing jet.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Fig. 14

References

  1. Bae, J., Yoo, J., Jin, L., Jeong, S.: Experimental investigation of passive thermodynamic vent system (TVS) with liquid nitrogen. Cryogenics. 89, 147–156 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cryogenics.2017.11.001

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bentz, M.D.: Tank pressure control in low gravity by jet mixing, NASA CR-191012, (1993)

  3. Chato, D.J.: Low Gravity Issues of Deep Space Refueling, AIAA–2005–1148 (2005). https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2005-1148

  4. Flachbart, R.H., Hastings, L.J., Hedayat, A., Nelson, S.L., Tucker, S.P.: Thermodynamic vent system performance testing with subcooled liquid methane and gaseous helium presurant. Cryogenics. 48(5-6), (2008). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cryogenics.2008.03.011

  5. Guzik, M.C., Tomsik, T.M.: An active broad area cooling model of a cryogenicpropellant tank with a single stage reverse turbobrayton cycle cryocooler, Conference Paper of Thermal and Fluids Analysis Workshop, (2011)

  6. Hasan, M.M., Lin, C.S., Knoll, R.H., Bentz, M.D.: Tank pressure control experiment: thermal phenomena in microgravity, NASA TP-3564, (1996)

  7. Hasting, L.J., Plachta, D.W., Salerno, L., Kittel, P.: An overview of NASA efforts on zero boiloff storage of cryogenic propellants. Cryogenics. 41, (2002). https://doi.org/10.1016/S0011-2275(01)00176-X

  8. Huang, Y., Wang, B., Chen, Z., Sun, P., Li, P.: Experimental evaluation of the performance of a thermodynamic vent system for a vapor–liquid storage tank with R141b as the testing fluid. Int. J. Refrig. 90, (2018). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrefrig.2018.03.018

  9. Kartuzova, O.V., Kassemi, M.: Modeling ullage dynamics of tank pressure control experiment during jet mixing in microgravity, AIAA 2016–4677 (2016a). https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2016-4677

  10. Kartuzova, O.V., Kassemi, M.: Modeling droplet heat and mass transfer during spray bar pressure control of the multipurpose hydrogen test Bed (MHTB) tank in normal gravity, AIAA 2016–4673 (2016b). https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2016-4673

  11. Lak, T., Wood, C.: Cryogenic fluid management technologies for space transportation -zero g thermodynamic vent system final report, NASA CR-193981, (1994)

  12. Muratov C. B., Osipov V. V., Smelyanskiy V. N., Issues of long-term cryogenic propellant storage in microgravity, NASA/TM–2011–215988 (2011)

  13. Plachta, D.W., Johnson, W.L., Feller, J.R.: Zero boil-off system testing. Cryogenics. 74, (2016). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cryogenics.2015.10.009

  14. Schaffer, M., Wenne, C.: A study of cryogenic propulsive stages for human exploration beyond low earth orbit, Proceedings of Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX) (2012)

  15. Sutheesh, P.M., Alex, C.: Thermal performance of multilayer insulation: a review. IOP Conf. Ser. Mater. Sci. Eng., 396, (1), (2018). doi:10.1088/1757-899X/396/1/012061

  16. Wang, B., Huang, Y., Chen, Z., Wu, J., Wang, T., Lei, G.: Performance of thermodynamic vent system for cryogenic propellant storage using different control strategies. Appl. Therm. Eng. 126, (2017). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2017.07.158

  17. Wang, B., Qin, X., Jiang, W., Peng, L., Sun, P., Huang, Y.: Numerical simulation on interface evolution and pressurization behaviors in cryogenic propellant tank on orbit. Microgravity Sci Technol. (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12217-019-09734-6

Download references

Acknowledgments

Our research summarizes the results of the study titled “Development of Innovative Thermal Management Technology to Realize Long-Term Storage of Cryogenic Propellant” conducted as part of the strategic basic development research of the Space Engineering Committee in 2018.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ryoji Imai.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

This article belongs to the Topical Collection: Multiphase Fluid Dynamics in Microgravity

Guest Editors: Tatyana P. Lyubimova, Jian-Fu Zhao

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Imai, R., Nishida, K., Kawanami, O. et al. Basic Study on Thermodynamic Vent System in Propulsion System for Future Spacecraft. Microgravity Sci. Technol. 32, 339–348 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12217-019-09768-w

Download citation

Keywords

  • Cryogenic fluid
  • Thermodynamic vent system
  • Microgravity
  • Thermal stratification
  • Computational fluid dynamics