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 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    M. J. Lighthill, Quart. J. Mech. Applied Math. 6, Pt. 4, 398 (1953).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    B. W. Martin, Proc. Roy. Soc. (London), Ser. A 231, 502 (1955).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    E. R. G. Eckert and T. W. Jackson, “Analytical Investigation of Flow and Heat Transfer in Coolant Passages of Free Convection Liquid Cooled Turbines,” NACA TN 2207 (1950).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    S. Ostrach and P. R. Thornton, Trans. ASME 363 (February 1958).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    J. F. Haskins and J. Hertz, in Advances in Cryogenic Engineering, Vol. 7, Plenum Press, New York (1962), p. 353.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    R. B. Scott, Cryogenic Engineering, D. van Nostrand Company, Princeton, New Jersey (1959).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    F. E. Ruccia and C. M. Mohr, in Advances in Cryogenic Engineering, Vol. 4, Plenum Press, New York (1960), p. 307.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    P. Griffith, “Geysering in Liquid Filled Lines,” Paper presented at the ASME-AICHE Heat Transfer Conference, Houston, Texas, (August 5–8, 1962).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1965

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations