Determination of Cryogenic Pool Boiling and Subsurface Helium Pressurization Characteristics in Reduced Gravity

PI: Jacob Chung, University of Florida - Gainesville, Samuel Darr (Co-I), The Aerospace Corporation

Cryogenic propellants stored in low gravity may experience loss from pool boiling and the injection of gas directly into the liquid during pressurization. However, data to understand these dynamics are limited and do not reflect the characteristics of tanks used in flight (e.g., surface roughness and shape). This experiment was designed to determine cryogenic pool boiling in low gravity for flight-like surfaces and subsurface pressurization. The data collected will inform vehicle tank thermodynamic simulations to estimate heat and mass transfer rates and expected boiloff losses.

Technology Areas (?)
  • TA02 In-Space Propulsion Technologies
Problem Statement

Zero-gravity boiling data is needed to predict boiloff loss of cryogenic propellants. Tank pressurization directly into the liquid may occur in zero gravity, generating boiloff and affecting the pressurization efficiency. Insufficient data on cryogenic subsurface pressurization is available, and heat/mass transfer rates are unknown. This experiment is designed to yield data for combining with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations to back out heat and mass transfer rates.

Technology Maturation

If successful, this experiment will provide zero-gravity pool boiling data for flight-like surfaces as well as subsurface pressurization data. Models generated from this data could enable accurate tank thermal and pressurization system design by minimizing uncertainty in propellant boiloff losses.

This work is a continuation of previous flight testing under T0035, T0172, and T0189.

Future Customers

• Space tugs, propellant tankers, and other lunar architectural elements
• Ascent and descent stages of spaceflight

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    TechFlights19 (Oct 2019)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 1 Parabolic

Development Team

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