Filling Liquid Acquisition Devices in Microgravity
This work addresses the problem of filling screen-channel liquid
acquisition devices in very low gravity. The
concept of using a thermodynamic vent system to promote Clapeyron
pumping and condensation is proposed
in two configurations, a triangular apex-mounted heat exchanger
and a concentric cylinder heat exchanger. The
performance of the concept in low gravity is then evaluated by analysis.
By approximating the liquid surfaces as
flat and parallel, the triangular configuration is related to the
cylindrical configuration. Results of a numerical
solution to the one-dimensional cylindrical heat-transfer problem show
that a quasi-steady analytical solution
suffices for the Jakob numbers of interest. For an initially-empty channel
of 38-cm-squared cross-sectional area with a
10:1 ratio of channel height to heat exchanger radius, and 4-K Joule-Thomson
expansion, complete fill occurs in
30 min. The concept was then proven by testing performed in lg with
Freon-114 at Jakob numbers similar to that
in a hydrogen, on-orbit servicing environment. A screen-channel test
article was successfully filled against gravity.
This reliable method of filling screen channels enables on-orbit
resupply of space-based systems that must deliver
liquid in low gravity, such as a fuel depot.
E. DiStefano, E. C. Cady, and R. H. Rangel,
"A Method of Filling Screen Liquid Acquisition Devices in Low Gravity,"
Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, 31, 1099-1106, 1994.
Schematic of the Problem
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