The cryogenic propulsion era started with the use of liquid rockets. These rocket engines use propellants in liquid form with reasonably high density, allowing reduced tank size with a high mass ratio. Cryogenic engines are designed for liquid fuels that have to be held in liquid form at cryogenic temperature and gas at normal temperatures. Since propellants are stored at their boiling temperature or subcooled condition, minimal heat infiltration itself causes thermal stratification and self-pressurization. Due to stratification, the state of propellant inside the tank varies, and it is essential to keep the propellant properties in a predefined state for restarting the cryogenic engine after the coast phase. The propellant’s condition at the inlet of the propellant feed system or turbo pump must fall within a narrow range. If the inlet temperature is above the cavitation value, cavitation will likely to happen to result in the probable destruction of the flight vehicle. The present work aims to find an effective method to reduce the stratification phenomenon in a cryogenic storage tank. From previous studies, it is observed that the shape of the inner wall surface of the storage tank plays an essential role in the development of the stratified layer. A CFD model is established to predict the rate of self-pressurization in a liquid hydrogen container. The Volume of Fluid (VOF) method is used to predict the liquid–vapor interface movement, and the Lee phase change model is adopted for evaporation and condensation calculations. A detailed study has been conducted on a cylindrical storage tank with an iso grid and rib structure. The development of the stratified layer in the presence of iso grid and ribs are entirely different. The buoyancy-driven free convection flow over iso grid structure result in velocity and temperature profile that differs significantly from a smooth wall case. The thermal boundary layer was always more significant for iso grid type obstruction, and these obstructions induces streamline deflection and recirculation zones, which enhances heat transfer to bulk liquid. A larger self-pressurization rate is observed for tanks with an iso grid structure. The presence of ribs results in the reduction of upward buoyancy flow near the tank surface, whereas streamline deflection and recirculation zones were also perceptible. As the number of ribs increases, it nullifies the effect of the formation of recirculation zones. Finally, a maximum reduction of 32.89% in the self-pressurization rate is achieved with the incorporation of the rib structure in the tank wall.
Part of the book: Low-Temperature Technologies and Applications