A Carbon Dioxide Purge and Thermal Protection System for Liquid Hydrogen Tanks of Hypersonic Airplanes

  • L. R. Jackson
  • M. S. Anderson
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Cryogenic Engineering book series (ACRE, volume 12)


With supersonic flight already achieved, studies of hypersonic flight in the atmosphere are underway [1–3]. A study of a hypersonic transport [2] indicates that the use of liquid hydrogen fuel with its high heat of combustion may result in twice the cruise efficiency attainable with hydrocarbon fuel; in fact, this and other advantages [4] suggest that liquid hydrogen fuel is mandatory for efficient hypersonic cruise airplanes. Hypersonic flight then not only results in high external surface temperature from aerodynamic heating (about 1500°F compared with about 500°F for supersonic flight), but requires tank temperatures as low as — 423°F. This simultaneous existence of high and low temperatures for long flight times requires an efficient thermal protection system to prevent excessive fuel boil-off; moreover, since liquid hydrogen has a very low density, large surface areas must be protected. Insulation alone is not adequate since the cold tank can cause air to liquefy continuously [5]. Experiments [6] have shown that the resulting cryopumping action can release heat at a rate as high as 3600 Btu/hr-ft2, which represents a fuel boil-off rate of 18 lb/hr-ft2—a totally unacceptable rate for a flieht vehicle.


Thermal Protection Liquid Hydrogen Hypersonic Vehicle Tank Wall Thermal Protection System 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. R. Jackson
    • 1
  • M. S. Anderson
    • 1
  1. 1.NASA Langley Research CenterHamptonUSA

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