Investigation of cryogenic chilldown in a complex channel under low gravity using a sounding rocket

Kiyoshi Kinefuchi, Wataru Sarae, Yutaka Umemura, Takeshi Fujita, Koichi Okita, Hiroaki Kobayashi, Satoshi Nonaka, Takehiro Himeno, Tetsuya Sato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Torealize high-performance cryogenic propulsion systems, the chilldown sequence has to be improved. Because the chilldown is carried out under low gravity, the effect of gravity on the two-phase flow, especially at low flow rate, should be investigated. To understand the physics under low gravity, an experiment was conducted using a sounding rocket. Two identical test sections with different mass flow rates simulated part of a turbopump, each of which has a complex flowpath including slits and a dead end. Using liquid nitrogen, the flight experiment obtained data of temperatures, pressures, void fractions, and video frames of liquid motion. Then, the flight experiment data were compared to the ground data taken under normal gravity, revealing that the slits played an important role in the chilldown process and that the test sections were quickly chilled down under low gravity. The slits of the test sections formed liquid jets, and their behaviors were different from those in the ground experiment. In the flight experiment, the jets easily reached the dead end of the test sections and cooled down the whole walls due to the increase in inertia and wettability; however, such behaviors were hardly observed in the ground experiment. The difference between the ground and flight is significant at lower flow rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-103
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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