An Experimental Investigation of Geysering in Vertical Tubes

  • D. W. Murphy
Part of the Advances in Cryogenic Engineering book series (ACRE, volume 10)


The phenomenon termed geysering can be described as the rapid expulsion of a boiling liquid and its vapor from a vertical tube. The primary engineering interest in geysers is in the missile industry since many rocket vehicles use cryogenic fluids as the vehicle propellants. The geyser problem arises in the design of propellant feed systems, which typically use long lines to connect the propellant tank to the engine. Because the propellants are cryogenic, the atmosphere heats the propellant in the feed line during the time period following missile fueling and prior to launch. If a geyser occurs during this period and the line is emptied of liquid, the liquid, in refilling, can cause impact loads at the bottom of the line high enough to seriously damage the vehicle. In addition, if the feed line is damaged, the propellant in the missile tank may drain out, creating a safety hazard throughout the launch area. If sufficient information concerning the factors which produce geysering were available during the initial design of the propellant feed system, the geyser problem might possibly be eliminated by appropriate design.


Heat Flux Nusselt Number Rayleigh Number Fluid Property Vertical Tube 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1965

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. W. Murphy
    • 1
  1. 1.Martin CompanyDenverUSA

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