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Research Papers

Active Insulation Technique Applied to the Experimental Analysis of a Thermodynamic Control System for Cryogenic Propellant Storage

[+] Author and Article Information
Samuel Mer

LEGI,
University of Grenoble Alpes,
Grenoble Cedex 9 38041, France
e-mail: samuel.mer@legi.grenoble-inp.fr

Jean-Paul Thibault

LEGI,
University of Grenoble Alpes,
Grenoble Cedex 9 38041, France
e-mail: jean-paul.thibault@legi.cnrs.fr

Christophe Corre

LMFA
Ecole Centrale de Lyon,
36 Avenue Guy de Collongue,
Ecully Cedex 69134, France
e-mail: christophe.corre@ec-lyon.fr

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF THERMAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS. Manuscript received September 11, 2015; final manuscript received February 5, 2016; published online March 8, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Steve Cai.

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 8(2), 021024 (Mar 08, 2016) (8 pages) Paper No: TSEA-15-1259; doi: 10.1115/1.4032761 History: Received September 11, 2015; Revised February 05, 2016

A technological barrier for long-duration space missions using cryogenic propulsion is the control of the propellant tank self-pressurization (SP). Since the cryogenic propellant submitted to undesired heat load tends to vaporize, the resulting pressure rise must be controlled to prevent storage failure. The thermodynamic vent system (TVS) is one of the possible control strategies. A TVS system has been investigated using on-ground experiments with simulant fluid. Previous experiments performed in the literature have reported difficulties to manage the thermal boundary condition at the tank wall; spurious thermal effects induced by the tank environment spoiled the tank power balance accuracy. This paper proposes to improve the experimental tank power balance, thanks to the combined use of an active insulation technique, a double envelope thermalized by a water loop which yields a net zero heat flux boundary condition and an electrical heating coil delivering a thermal power Pc[0360]W, which accurately sets the tank thermal input. The simulant fluid is the NOVEC1230 fluoroketone, allowing experiments at room temperature T ∈ [40–60] °C. Various SP and TVS experiments are performed with this new and improved apparatus. The proposed active tank insulation technique yields quasi-adiabatic wall condition for all experiments. For TVS control at a given injection temperature, the final equilibrium state depends on heat load and the injection mass flow rate. The cooling dynamics is determined by the tank filling and the injection mass flow rate but does not depend on the heat load Pc.

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Figures

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Fig. 4

Schematic view of the experimental facility with its instrumentation, injection loop, and double envelope temperature regulation

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Fig. 3

Tank inside picture with the helicoidal heating coil (A) and the multisensor temperature probe (B)

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Fig. 1

Schematic view of a TVS controlled tank. The injection (loop) drives directly a subcooled jet inside the ullage. The vented branch creates the cold source heat sink.

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Fig. 2

Partially flayed CAD view of the experimental apparatus

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Fig. 5

Experimental determination of the compensation factor β (Tenv − Tamb) applied to the PID regulation set-point

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Fig. 12

Comparison of various TVS experiments for different m˙inj and fixed tank filling: 66% −  Pc=0 W  − Tinj = 40 °C

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Fig. 6

Typical temperature plateau performance of the active insulation technique with compensation factor − (Tenv,SP: regulation set-point − Tenv,WP: regulation working-point)

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Fig. 10

SP experimental results (solid lines) compared to an adiabatic thermodynamic model (symbols) for various values of the coil heating power Pc. Liquid tank filling set equal to 66%.

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Fig. 7

Typical temperature plateau performance of the active insulation technique without compensation factor − (Tenv,SP: regulation set-point − Tenv,WP: regulation working-point)

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Fig. 11

SP experimental results (solid lines) compared to an adiabatic thermodynamic model (symbols) for various values of the initial tank filling. Coil heating power set equal to 52 W.

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Fig. 13

Comparison of various TVS experiments for different Pc and fixed tank filling: 66% −  m˙inj=43 g s−1  − Tinj = 40 °C

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Fig. 14

Comparison of various TVS experiments for different tank filling and fixed Pc=52 W−m˙inj=43 g s−1  − Tinj = 40 °C

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Fig. 9

The temperature exponential decay observed during TVS control is characterized by a characteristic cooling time τES and a final temperature-plateau TES

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Fig. 15

Left: typical time evolution of the average temperature of the fluid inside the tank Tave along with a diagram of the multi-PID regulation principle. Right: focus on the early stage of the TVS injection with the envelope temperature regulation set-point Tenv,SP and the envelope temperature regulation working-point Tenv,WP.

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Fig. 8

Typical results of an experiment: SP experiment followed by a TVS control phase

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Fig. 16

Vertical temperature distribution in the fluid, heating coil temperature, and wall temperature (double envelope) during an SP phase and for two different heat loads: Pc=52 W and Pc=26 W, both for Tave = 57.5 °C

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Fig. 17

Vertical temperature distribution in the fluid, heating coil temperature, and wall temperature (double envelope) during a TVS phase and for two different heat loads: Pc=52 W and Pc=26 W, both for Tave = 57.5 °C

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