Heat and Mass Transfer

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 395–404 | Cite as

Experimental and numerical investigations of fluid flow and heat transfer in a cryogenic tank at loss of vacuum

  • Xiangdong LiEmail author
  • Gaofeng Xie
  • Rongshun Wang


The transient process of thermal stratification in liquid nitrogen (LN2) induced by lose of vacuum in a multi-layer insulated cryogenic tank is investigated both experimentally and numerically. In the experiments, distribution and evolution of the liquid temperature is obtained using thermocouples. Then, two-dimensional numerical computations are performed, using the two-fluid model together with nucleate boiling model as the closure correlations. Comparison of the numerical results against the experimental data illustrates that the process of thermal stratification forming and weakening, as well as the liquid temperature field are satisfactorily simulated. The computed results of liquid flow field contribute to the understanding of this transient process. It is also demonstrated that the two-phase flow in the tank plays an important role on thermal stratification.


Liquid Temperature Void Fraction Thermal Stratification Saturation Temperature Heated Wall 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of symbols


Area fraction occupied by convection


Area fraction occupied by quenching


Specific heat at constant pressure [J/(kg K)]


Local bubble diameter in the liquid (m)


Bubble departure diameter (m)


Mouth diameter of active site (m)

\( \overset{\lower0.5em\hbox{$\smash{\scriptscriptstyle\rightharpoonup}$}} {F} \)

Interfacial force per unit volume (N)


Bubble departure frequency [bubbles/(site s)]


Acceleration due to gravity (m/s2)


Apparent heat transfer coefficient [W/(m2 K)]


Latent heat (J/kg)

\( \dot{m} \)

Inter-phase mass transfer rate [kg/(m3 s)]


Active site density (sites/m2)


Heat flux from the heated wall (W/m2)


Heat flux due to convection (W/m2)


Heat flux due to evaporation (W/m2)


Heat flux due to quenching (W/m2)


Temperature (K)


Liquid subcooling, ΔT sub = T sat − T l,W (K)


Wall superheating, ΔT sup = T W  − T sat (K)


Bubble waiting time (s)

\( \overset{\lower0.5em\hbox{$\smash{\scriptscriptstyle\rightharpoonup}$}} {U} \)

Velocity (m/s)


Liquid velocity in the cell next to the wall (m/s)


Volume fraction


Thermal conductivity [W/(m K)]


Density (kg/m3)


Density difference between the liquid and the vapor, Δρ = ρ l  − ρ v [kg/m3]


Surface tension (N/m)


k, j

Phase denotations


From phase j to phase k


The liquid phase




The vapor phase


The wall

l, W

Liquid in the cell next to the wall



Financial supports from the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant No. 50806042 and from the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality under Grant No. 08DZ053300 are gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechanical EngineeringShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina

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