Mathematical Modelling of Thermal Stratification in a Cryogenic Propellant Tank

Gagan Agrawal, Jeswin Joseph, Deepak Agarwal, J. C. Pisharady, S. Sunil Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Cryogenic tanks used for space applications are filled with sub-cooled cryogenic propellants, whose liquid-vapor interface remains undisturbed for long periods of time prior to launch. During this period, substantial amount of heat leaks into the tank from external sources such as solar and ambient convective fluxes, even though the tank is well insulated. This results in thermal stratification near the liquid vapour interface. A transient, two-phase, thermodynamic model of stratification in a cryogenic tank is developed, considering propellant boundary layer flow due to natural convection close to tank wall. Continuity, momentum, energy and mass transfer equations are solved using finite difference-based formulations of SINDA/FLUINT simulator. The analytical model is validated with test results reported in literature. Subsequently, studies are carried out to investigate the effect of liquid sub-cooling in propellant tank on stratified mass and liquid temperature profile. The study shows that sub-cooling of cryogenic tank leads to significant increase in stratified mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number012045
JournalIOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event26th International Cryogenic Engineering Conference, ICEC 2016 and International Cryogenic Materials Conference 2016, ICMC 2016 - New Delhi, India
Duration: Mar 7 2016Mar 11 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)


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