Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) proposes to complete development of a unique venturi for propellant feed systems that uses a passively controlled throat area to rapidly and automatically adjust flow rate. The Adaptive Venturi is a safety device that eliminates fluid hammer in gaseous, liquid, and cryogenic systems by adjusting flow rate to prevent pressure surges. These benefits are achieved without adding weight or volume. No sensors or electronics are used and no power is required. 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 was optimized specifically for high-pressure oxygen applications. The component’s performance was evaluated using gaseous nitrogen to quickly iterate and improve the geometric design. This effort resulted in an optimized design that reduces gas pressurization rates by more than 85% in comparison to a conventional orifice or venturi.
In Phase II, the Adaptive Venturi’s ability to prevent ignition due to fluid impact will be demonstrated in the most extreme application, gaseous oxygen at pressures greater than 8,000 psi. This program will result in a final product at the conclusion of the Phase II program, offering a low risk, near-term transition to NASA and commercial propulsion facilities.
Successful demonstration of the Adaptive Venturi will have applications in any oxygen system where high pressures, soft goods, or high flow rates are needed. 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.