Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) proposes to develop a unique venturi for propellant feed systems that uses a passively controlled throat area to adjust flow rate. The adaptive venturi is a safety device that eliminates fluid hammer in gaseous, liquid, and cryogenic systems by rapidly adjusting flow area to prevent pressure surges. These benefits are achieved without adding weight, volume, or power requirements. Sensors are not used. For high-pressure oxygen systems, the adaptive venturi eliminates the risk of ignition caused by adiabatic compression. This device has been demonstrated with a prompt response time and zero evidence of instability. In Phase I, PSI’s existing adaptive venturi will be optimized specifically for high-pressure oxygen applications. The component’s performance will be evaluated using gaseous nitrogen to quickly iterate and improve the geometric design. Then, the adaptive venturi’s ability to prevent ignition due to fluid impact will be evaluated with gaseous oxygen at high pressures. Upon successful technology development under the SBIR program, the adaptive venture is a near-term product that will be transitioned to markets for both flight and ground-based applications.
Successful demonstration of the adaptive venturi will have applications in any oxygen system where high pressures, soft goods, or high flow rates are desired. Extending the lifetime and maximum pressure capability of oxygen components will improve reliability and performance in these applications. More generally, the adaptive venturi will reduce the cost of qualifying gas, liquid, and cryogenic feed system by eliminating the need for surge mitigation testing. These benefits can be realized for both ground-based and flight plumbing systems.
The adaptive venturi can simplify propellant loading and priming operations for propellant systems in Air Force satellites and missile defense systems employed by the MDA, Army, and Navy. The ground test facilities that support these missions in DoD and private industry will benefit from the adaptive venturi due to improvements in safety, performance, and cost.