Simulation of jet-induced geysers in reduced gravity


Control of cryogenic propellant tank pressure during tank refueling and expulsion in low gravity is an important technical challenge to overcome for future long duration missions in space. One method proposed to control tank pressurization involves the use of jet-induced geysers. Two-dimensional computational models have been developed and used with limited success in previous efforts to predict geyser heights in microgravity. A three-dimensional flow simulation is used to model jet-induced geysers in reduced gravity. Geyser flows are commonly characterized by the presence of turbulent jets, transient flow, deforming free surfaces, and surface tension effects. As is the case for many turbulent flow applications, accuracy in simulating complex turbulent flows is critically dependent on the selection of a suitable turbulence model. The sensitivity of the simulation geyser predictions to a suite of popular turbulence models is assessed. Simulation results are compared to available experiment results. By expanding upon the work already completed, the model is used to simulate a broad range of cases within the experiment test matrix. Simulation results suggest the two dimensional simulation using the k-ε turbulence model provides the most accurate results for jet-induced geysers in reduced gravity when compared to available experiment data. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Publication Title

Microgravity Science and Technology