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Research Papers

Investigation of Tank Pressurization and Pressure Control—Part I: Experimental Study

[+] Author and Article Information
Stephen Barsi

NASA Glenn Research Center,
Cleveland, OH 44135
e-mail: stephen.j.barsi@nasa.gov

Mohammad Kassemi

National Center for Space Exploration Research,
NASA Glenn Research Center,
Cleveland, OH 44135
e-mail: mohammad.kassemi@nasa.gov

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received October 22, 2012; final manuscript received February 6, 2013; published online September 27, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Jovica R. Riznic.

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 5(4), 041005 (Sep 27, 2013) (20 pages) Paper No: TSEA-12-1202; doi: 10.1115/1.4023891 History: Received October 22, 2012; Revised February 06, 2013

Self-pressurization and pressure control of cryogenic storage tanks have important design consequences for propellant and life support systems currently being planned for long duration space missions. During self-pressurization, the tank's liquid fill level and the heat load from the surroundings can have significant effects on the tank's thermal stratification and pressurization rate. When controlling pressure with a mixing jet, the velocity and temperature of the jet are important design parameters affecting the thermal destratification and pressure reduction time constants. In this work, a small-scale ground-based experiment was performed, as a precursor to a microgravity experiment, to investigate the effects of these variables on the pressurization and pressure control time constants in the tank and to assess the feasibility of using a forced jet mixer for reduced boil-off pressure control. Local pointwise temperature and pressure measurements, together with qualitative contours of the thermal field in the liquid, vapor, and wall region, were made to identify and characterize important self-pressurization and pressure control trends in 1 g.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic of test tank

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Fig. 2

Detailed view of jet nozzle (dimensions in meters)

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Fig. 3

Thermistor and RTD locations in the test tank (dashed line corresponds to interface location at 26.5% fill level; coordinates are in meters)

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Fig. 4

Schematic of the experimental apparatus

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Fig. 10

Effect of axial jet mixing on ullage pressure (a) and ullage temperature (b) (liquid fill level = 26.5%, heat load = 2 W, and jet speed = 0.241 m/s)

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Fig. 9

Temperature profiles along the outer tank wall (liquid fill level = 50.0%, heat load = 2 W)

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Fig. 8

Effect of liquid fill level on ullage temperature (a) during self-pressurization. Inset of the temperature response (b) (heat load = 2 W).

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Fig. 7

Effect of liquid fill level on ullage pressure (a) during self-pressurization. Inset of the pressure response (b) (heat load = 2 W).

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Fig. 6

Effect of heat input on ullage pressure (a) and ullage temperature (b) during self-pressurization (liquid fill level = 26.5%)

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Fig. 5

Reproducibility of the experimental data: pressure (a) and temperature (b)

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Fig. 11

Effect of jet speed on ullage pressure (a) and ullage temperature (b) (liquid fill level = 26.5%, heat load = 2 W, and jet temperature = 293.2 K)

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Fig. 12

Effect of jet subcooling on ullage pressure (a) and ullage temperature (b) (liquid fill level = 26.5%, heat load = 2 W, and jet speed = 0.241 m/s)

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Fig. 13

Temperature profiles along the outer tank wall (liquid fill level = 50.0%, heat load = 2 W, jet speed = 0.241 m/s, and jet temperature = 293.2 K)

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Fig. 14

Effect of heat input on ullage pressure during subcooled jet mixing (liquid fill level = 26.5%, jet speed = 0.241 m/s, and jet temperature = 293.2 K)

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Fig. 15

Effect of liquid fill level on ullage pressure during subcooled jet mixing (heat load = 2 W, jet speed = 0.241 m/s, and jet temperature = 293.2 K

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Fig. 18

Temperature histories in the liquid (a) and vapor (b) (fill level = 26.5%, heat load = 2 W, jet speed = 0.421 m/s, and jet temperature = 293.2 K)

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Fig. 19

Comparison of predicted and measured pressure reduction time

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Fig. 16

Pressure (a) and temperature (b) histories (fill level = 26.5%, heat load = 2 W, jet speed = 0.421 m/s, jet temperature = 293.2 K

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Fig. 17

Temperature contours at various times during self-pressurization and subcooled jet mixing: (a) Self-pressurization, ΔTmax = 0.708 K, ΔTmin = 0.052 K. (b) Self-pressurization, ΔTmax = 1.126 K, ΔTmin = 0.273 K. (c) Subcooled jet mixing, ΔTmax = 0.772 K, ΔTmin = -1.502 K. (d) Subcooled jet mixing, ΔTmax = 0.528 K, ΔTmin = -1.788 K.

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