Volume 11, 2019Progress in Propulsion Physics – Volume 11
|Page(s)||555 - 570|
|Published online||08 February 2019|
Experimental study of water hammer pressure surge
Engine Transients Group, Institute of Space Propulsion German Aerospace Center (DLR) Hardthausen 74239, Germany
During the start-up of the propulsion system of a satellite or spacecraft, the opening of the tank isolation valve will cause the propellant to flow into an evacuated feedline and slam against a closed thruster valve. This filling process, called priming, can cause severe pressure peaks that could lead to structural failure. In the case of monopropellants such as hydrazine, also, the risk of adiabatic compression detonation must be taken into account in the design of the feedline subsystem. The phenomenon of priming involves complex two-phase flow: the liquid entering the evacuated pipe undergoes flash evaporation creating a vapor cushion in front of the liquid that mixes with the residual inert gas in the line. Moreover, the dissolved pressurizing gas in the liquid will desorb making the priming process difficult to model. In order to study this phenomenon, a new test-bench has been built at DLR Lampoldshausen which allows fluid transient experiments in the same conditions as the operating space system. Tests are performed with water and ethanol at different conditions (tank pressure, vacuum level, pressurizing gas helium vs. nitrogen, etc.). The effect of the geometry is also investigated, comparing different test-elements such as straight, tees, and elbow pipes. The pressure profile is found to be dependent on the geometry and on the downstream conditions. The acoustic wave reflection caused by the pipe geometry and fluid dynamic effects such as the aforementioned desorption and flash evaporation induce a complex pressure profile of the first pressure peak. Finally, numerical simulations of the priming process are performed by means of EcosimPro software in conjunction with European Space Propulsion System Simulation (ESPSS) libraries and results are compared with experiments.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2019
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.