Flight-ready Electrical Capacitance Tomography SMARTTS tank for use with cryogenics

M. D. Green, R. Foster-Turner, A. Hunt, A. M. Ramirez-Mancebo, S. C. Lieber, J. W. Hartwig, D. Moxey, A. Tafuni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Atout SMARTTS (SMART Tanks for Space) system allows the propellant mass distribution in a storage vessel to be measured accurately under several motion and gravity conditions and at any fill level. Based on Electrical Capacitance Tomography (ECT), SMARTTS systems incorporate electrodes on the inside of the tank, electrical connections to these electrodes, and capacitance measurements. Interpretation of the capacitance measurements is done through the Atout software, providing live images, fill levels and center of mass measurement of the propellant within the tank. The main objective of this work is to demonstrate the successful operation of a flight-ready aluminum tank with integrated SMARTTS electrodes and feedthroughs at cryogenic temperatures. The experiments presented herein consist of three submersion cycles in which the tank is lowered into an open-top dewar filled with liquid nitrogen. During the cycle, the tank is filled with liquid nitrogen when lowered into the dewar, then drained as it is lifted out. Successful operation of the SMARTTS system has been proven via live images of the fluid in the tank, as well as measured fill volume and center of mass of fluid. The materials and sensors have performed satisfactorily with no failures or post-experiment signs of damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111144
JournalExperimental Thermal and Fluid Science
StatePublished - May 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


  • Cryogenics
  • ECT
  • Experimental testing
  • Liquid nitrogen
  • Mass gauging


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