Cryogenic fluid management is critical for long term deep space manned missions. The nature of these missions will require long term storage of cryogenic liquids. Temperature fluctuations will result in some liquid vaporization and the formation of two-phase vapor-liquid mixtures, which would cause operational problems in pumping, transfer, and fueling systems. In low gravity conditions, vapor and liquid phases will not separate in distinct regions due to the lack of buoyancy forces, therefore a means of separating the two-phases is needed. In this proposal, we will pursue the development of the DynaSwirl® cryogenic separator demonstrated in Phase I, into a practical system that would operate in cryogenic liquid transfer high flow regimes. The design will be refined and optimized. The separator weight and the pressure drop across it will be minimized, a vapor capture system will be developed, and several prototype versions will be tested under a variety of conditions. To do so, the LN2 Cryogenic testing loop used in Phase I will be improved and upgraded with automation of valves’ control and data acquisition. The cryogenic tests will be conducted for times long enough to cover steady flow following the fill-out time and negligible effects of gravity on the separation will be demonstrated by conducting tests with different chamber orientations. The effects of the various geometrical dimensions of the separator components will be investigated and scale ups of the system to large exit diameters and high pressures will be considered. System level design study will be conducted to predict the behavior of the DynaSwirl® Cryogenic Phase Separator compared to other propellant management devices (PMD). A separator test unit for microgravity flight testing will be set up for future reduced gravity tests and a prototype of the separator for conditions of interest to NASA researchers will be delivered to NASA for testing with different cryogenics such as liquid O2 and CH4.
Long-term space habitation and manned missions into deep space will require cryogenic fluids management, including the Human Landing System (HLS) for the Artemis Mission for lunar landings, future missions to Mars, storage and transfer of cryogenic fluids to be used in chemical and nuclear propulsors, life support systems, formation and recovery of fluids generated in situ. The presence of vapor in cryogenic liquids requires the ability to separate phases in low gravity conditions, which will be provided by the DynaSwirl®.
The rapid and efficient removal of vapor in deep cooling systems is also a significant problem for hydrogen fuel storage and transfer, LNG infrastructure, medical imaging equipment, supercomputing facilities, superconductors, and cryopreservation of pathology and biological samples. The DoE, DOD missile programs, and medical and scientific facilities would also use the technology.