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Multiphase Fluid Hammer: Modeling, Experiments and Simulations

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VKI PHDT 2014-02, Marcos Lema Rodríguez, Multiphase Fluid Hammer: Modeling, Experiments and Simulations, ISBN 978-2-87516-066-9, 210 pgs

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Multiphase Fluid Hammer: Modeling, Experiments and Simulations 
By Marcos Lema Rodríguez

PhD Thesis from the von Karman Institute / Université Libre de Bruxelles / Universidade da Coruna , October 2013, ISBN 978-2-87516-066-9, 210 pgs


Abstract

This thesis deals with the experimental and numerical analysis of the water hammer phenomenon generated by the discharge of a pressurized liquid into a pipeline kept under vacuum conditions. This flow configuration induces several multiphase phenomena such as cavitation and gas desorption that cannot be ignored in the water hammer behavior.

The motivation of this research work comes from the liquid propulsion systems used in spacecrafts, which can undergo fluid hammer effects threatening the system integrity. Fluid hammer can be particularly adverse during the priming phase, which involves the fast opening of an isolation valve to fill the system with liquid propellant. Due to the initial vacuum conditions in the pipeline system, the water hammer taking place during priming may involve multiphase phenomena, such as cavitation and desorption of a non-condensable gas, which may a ffect the pressure surges produced in the lines. Even though this flow behavior is known, only few studies model the spacecraft hardware con figuration, and a proper characterization of the two-phase flow is still missing. The creation of a reliable database and the physical understanding of the water hammer behavior in propulsion systems are mandatory to improve the physical models implemented in the numerical codes used to simulate this flow confi guration.

For that purpose, an experimental facility modeling a spacecraft propulsion system has been designed, in which the physical phenomena taking place during priming are generated under controlled conditions in the laboratory using inert fluids. An extended experimental campaign was performed on the installation, aiming at analyzing the e ect of various working parameters on the fluid hammer behavior, such as the initial pressure in the line, liquid saturation with the pressurant gas, liquid properties and pipe configuration.

The influence of the desorbed gas during water hammer occurrence is found to have a great importance on the whole process, due to the added compressibility and lower speed of sound by an increasing amount of non-condensable gas in the liquid + gas mixture. This results in lower pressure levels and faster pressure peaks attenuation, compared to fluids without desorption.The two-phase flow was characterized by means of flow visualization of the liquid front at the location where the fluid hammer is generated. The front arrival was found to be preceded by a foamy mixture of liquid, vapor and non-condensable gas, and the pressure wave rejected at the tank may induce the liquid column separation at the bottom end. While column separation takes place, the successive pressure peaks are generated by the impact of the column back against the bottom end.

The resulting experimental database is then confronted to the predictions of the 1D numerical code EcosimPro/ESPSS used to assess the propulsion system designs. Simulations are performed with the flow configuration described before, modeling the experimental facility. The comparison of the numerical results against the experimental data shows that aspects such as speed of sound computation with a dissolved gas and friction modeling need to be improved.

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