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Center Innovation Fund: SSC CIF

Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Handling Efficiency Improvement

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Stennis Space Center (SSC) is NASA’s top annual consumer of cryogenic propellants. Improvements in ground propellant system operations at SSC require having the engineering analysis to analytically determine specific performance metrics and discrete technology development goals to assess need for upgrades.  In addition, evaluating suitable ground and spaced based cryogenic propellant production and handling technology demonstrations is critical.

To accomplish this, accurate thermal modeling is needed to account for the transient behavior of the structure and effect of the insulation configuration, especially if the vessel is thick-walled.  Additionally, accurate fluid modeling is needed to account for heat transfer between the liquid and vapor propellant, the pressurant, and the vessel wall.  A wide range of heat transfer mechanisms inside the tank, such as film and pool boiling, natural and forced convection, and mixing, must be simulated in order to produce realistic results.

For this project an innovative approach for modeling a cryogenic run tank or storage tank that can simulate the transient behavior during various operations was researched and developed.

The project determined specific performance metrics and discrete technology development goals with which to gage proposed investments in ground propellant systems operations at SSC.  Historical center studies/investigations were examined and surveyed on hydrogen and helium conservation and recovery. Additionally, a base analytic model of the Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) propellant tank at SSC’s E1 test facility was developed and documented using Thermal Desktop®/FlowCAD®. FloCAD® is a Thermal Desktop® module that allows a user to develop and integrate both fluid and thermal systems within a CAD based environment.

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Project Duration

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.