Simulating self-pressurization in propellant tanks


Recent studies focusing on predicting the self pressurization play a significant role in the design of cryogenic storage systems since tank pressure must be controlled for long duration space missions. Incident solar radiation heats the fluid in the tank over a period of time, vaporizing the liquid and as a result increasing the tank pressure. The objective of current research is to develop a complete finite volume based Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) model of tank pressurization in reduced gravity using an Energy of Fluid (EOF) approach, and to use the simulation to aid in the design and prediction of propellant management technologies aimed at controlling tank pressurization. The FLUENT pressure-based computation model is significantly enhanced to include the EOF method, which will solve the energy equation in terms of internal energy. The enhanced model will numerically predict thermodynamic properties in each computational cell. The simulation results will provide temperature and pressure histories for a given tank geometry and fill. The current study technical objectives are to complete the model development and validate the model using existing computational data for saturation temperature and evaporated liquid fraction. Copyright © 2010 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc.

Publication Title

48th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting Including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition