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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

A Reliable, Efficient Cryogenic Propellant Mixing Pump With No Moving Parts

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

A Reliable, Efficient Cryogenic Propellant Mixing Pump With No Moving Parts, Phase II
Refueling spacecraft in space offers tremendous benefits for increased spacecraft payload capacity and reduced launch cost. However, there are several key challenges with space refueling associated with the storage and handling of liquid cryogens in space. To meet these challenges, we propose to develop a reliable, compact, efficient cryogenic mixing pump with no moving parts. The mixing pump will prevent thermal stratification of the cryogen and simplify pressure control for storage tanks. The mixing pump uses an innovative thermodynamic process to generate fluid jets to promote fluid mixing, eliminating the need for mechanical pumps. Our innovative mechanism will be able to self-prime and generate a high-pressure rise. The device will significantly enhance the reliability of pressure control systems for storage tanks. In Phase I, we demonstrated the feasibility of our approach through building and testing a proof-of-concept mixing pump, optimizing the mixing pump design by analysis, and developing a preliminary layout design of a prototype pump. In Phase II, we will build and test a laboratory-scale cryogenic mixing pump, demonstrate its performance in a representative cryogenic environment, and deliver the pump to a NASA research lab for further evaluation. More »

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