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Phase Separation of Liquid from Gaseous Hydrogen in Microgravity Experimental Results

  • André PingelEmail author
  • Michael E. Dreyer
Original Article
  • 33 Downloads
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Thirty Years of Microgravity Research - A Topical Collection Dedicated to J. C. Legros

Abstract

Metal screens are commonly used as components for fluid handling in spacecraft and rocket tank designs. In most cases the screen performs a passive separation of the gaseous from the liquid propellant phase. This means that the liquid is able to flow through the screen, causing a flow through screen pressure drop, while the gaseous phase is blocked due to the pressure jump across a curved liquid-gas interphase at the small screen pores. As long as the flow through screen pressure drop is smaller than the bubble point pressure, phase separation is possible and allows the provision of gas-free liquid for the spacecraft or rocket engine. The opposite, the separation of the liquid from the gaseous propellant phase, is more challenging. Liquid-gas phase separation means that the gaseous phase is allowed to enter the phase separation device while the liquid phase is blocked. The separation of the liquid from the gas is possible due to a double screen element, as the work of Conrath et al. (Int. J. Multiphase Flow 50, 1–15, 2013) and Behruzi et al. (2013) has shown for storable liquids in Earth’s gravity and microgravity as well as for cryogenic liquids in Earth’s gravity. The liquid-gas phase separation of cryogenic liquids in microgravity however has not been investigated yet. Therefore, an experimental campaign consisting of six drop tests in microgravity using the drop tower at the University of Bremen, has been conducted. The experimental results confirm predicted governing physical phenomena and give evidence about further fluid mechanical and thermodynamical effects.

Keywords

Liquid hydrogen Liquid-gas separation Microgravity Double screen element Bubble point 

Nomenclature

Latin letters

a

thermal diffusivity, mm2 s− 1

B

screen thickness, μm

C

choke

C1

viscous drag coefficient

C2

inertia drag coefficient

cp

specific heat at const. pressure, J kg− 1 K− 1

cv

specific heat at const. volume, J kg− 1 K− 1

D

diameter, m

Dp

particle retention diameter, μm

Dp,295 K

room temperature pore diameter, μm

g

acceleration, gravity, m s− 2

H

heat foil

H2

parahydrogen

h

height, m

Δhe

deviation in height, m

Δhv

heat of evaporation, kJkg− 1

IM

inner marker, glass tube wall

K

permeability, μm2

Lc

capillary length, m

nsat

fitting parameter, Hartwig (2016)

OM

outer marker, glass cylinder wall

p

pressure, Pa

Δp

differential pressure, Pa

r

axial direction, coordinate system, m

R

radius, m

R

dimensionless radial wicking radius

Rs

static pore radius, μm2

S

specific surface area, μm− 1

t

time, s

t

dimensionless radial wicking time

Δtriw

radial inward wicking time, s

T

temperature, K

ΔTlssat

lower screen super heat, K

ΔTussat

upper screen super heat, K

ΔTsatwif

deviation of interphase temperature, K

ΔTsatwl

liquid sub cooling, K

V

volume, m3

V

valve

W

Lambert W function

z

vertical direction, coordinate system, m

Greek letters

λ

thermal conductivity, W m− 1 K− 1

μ

dynamic viscosity, μPa s

ϕ

porosity

ρ

density, kg m− 3

σ

surface tension, mN m− 1

τ

screen tortuosity

𝜃

contact angle,

Subscripts

0

initial condition

1 − 7

first till seventh

(g)

gaseous

(l)

liquid

ati

accommodation tank inside

b

bottom

b,bls

bubble below lower screen

b,bus

bubble below upper screen

bp

bubble point

c

center

dp

differential pressure

e

error

exp

experimental

f

flansch

g

glass cylinder

l

liquid

ls

lower screen

m

massflow

p

pressurization

pti

pressurization tank inside

pto

pressurization tank outside

riw

radial inward wicking

sat

saturation condition

t

tanks

th

theoretical

t,i

tube inside

t,o

tube outside

us

upper screen

v

vapor

w

wall

warp

warp wire direction

weft

weft wire direction

wif

glass cylinder wall, free surface

wl

glass cylinder wall, liquid

wl1

glass cylinder wall, liquid, position 1

wl2

glass cylinder wall, liquid, position 2

wv

glass cylinder wall, vapor

wv1

glass cylinder wall, vapor, position 1

wv2

glass cylinder wall, vapor, position 2

Notes

Acknowledgments

The project under the grant number 50RL1621 is funded with means of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy through the German Aerospace Center (DLR e. V.). The responsibility for the contents of this publication rests with the authors. We would like to thank Frank Ciecior, Holger Faust, Peter Prengel and Ronald Mairose for their technical support and invested effort for the help of the preparation and conduction of the experiments. We would also like to thank Mertcan Cihan for the help with the image post processing.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Production Engineering - Mechanical Engineering and Process Engineering, Department of Fluid Mechanics, Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM)University of BremenBremenGermany

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