Small-scale room-temperature-vulcanizing-655/aerogel cryogenic liquid storage tank for space applications


The storage of cryogenic liquids is key to the success of long-duration space missions like a manned mission to Mars. Current cryogenic storage tanks are constructed from metals with high thermal conductivities. This study presents the novel methods used to construct a prototype cryogenic storage tank made from RTV-655 embedded with polyimide aerogel. The low-temperature performance of the prototype RTV-655/aerogel tank is analyzed when partially filled with liquid nitrogen and pressurized. The data collected from the RTV-655/aerogel tank are compared to a tank of the same size made of RTV-655 to assess the effectiveness of the aerogel layer. Stress tolerance at low temperatures, the pressurization rate, and the liquid boiloff time are parameters used to gauge the tank performance. Tank construction methods along with testing parameters, procedures, and a comparison of performance results between the RTV-655/aerogel tank and RTV-655 tank are presented.

Publication Title

Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets