CFD Modeling of Bidirectional PMDs Inside Cryogenic Propellant Tanks Onboard Parabolic Flights

Jason Hartwig, Narottama Esser, Shreykumar Jain, David Souders, Allen Prasad Varghese, Angelo Tafuni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Future cryogenic propulsion systems will require efficient methods for transferring cryogenic propellants from a depot storage tank to a customer receiver tank to minimize costs and maximize reusability. The Reduced Gravity Cryogenic Transfer Project is currently developing advanced cryogenic fluid management technology and developing and validating new numerical models for three phases of transfer: line chill down, tank chill down, and tank fill. Additionally, multiple liquid nitrogen (LN2 ) parabolic flight transfer rigs are being designed by universities and NASA to investigate the gravitational sensitivities that exist in these three technologies. To maximize the collection of low-g data during flights, it is required to extract as much LN2 as possible from the supply tank, despite variable gravity levels. The purpose of this study is to present computational fluid dynamics volume of fluid simulations of LN2 behavior in the supply tank onboard parabolic flights to validate the optimal design of a bidirectional propellant management device (PMD) using the commercial software FLOW-3D. A parametric study was conducted on the effects of gravity level, fill level, pore size, open area, thickness, and type of baffle on PMD performance. Based on the results, the designed PMD exceeded the targeted expulsion efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-312
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'CFD Modeling of Bidirectional PMDs Inside Cryogenic Propellant Tanks Onboard Parabolic Flights'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this