CIESC Journal ›› 2019, Vol. 70 ›› Issue (3): 840-849.doi: 10.11949/j.issn.0438-1157.20180926

• Fluid dynamics and transport phenomena • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Numerical simulation and experimental validation of evaporation characteristics of scaled liquid hydrogen tank

Shunhao WANG1(),Wenli ZHU2,Zhenggen HU2,Rui ZHOU1,Liu YU1,Bin WANG1,Xiaobin ZHANG1()   

  1. 1. Institution of Refrigeration and Cryogenics, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, Zhejiang, China
    2. China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, Beijing 100076, China
  • Received:2018-08-14 Revised:2018-10-19 Online:2019-03-05 Published:2018-10-25
  • Contact: Xiaobin ZHANG;


The ground-scale reduction tank is used to simulate the thermophysical process and operating characteristics of the arrow-loaded hydrogen tank, including the barrel section and the shell section which is used to support the barrel section. The barrel section and part of the shell section are insulated by foam, and the shell section structure is exposed in the environment, which becomes the main heat leakage source of the liquid hydrogen tank. Based on the computational fluid dynamics method, the evaporation characteristics of the liquid hydrogen scaled tank were numerically studied. The mathematical framework of two-phase hydrogen flow and phase change heat and mass transfer was constructed based on VOF two-phase flow model and Level-set interface tracking method. The mass transfer rate of the liquid interface is calculated based on the Lee model. The liquefaction/evaporation coefficient in the Lee model was obtained by comparison with the experimental results. By theoretical analysis of the icing characteristics of the low temperature surface with or without foam insulation, convective heat transfer or constant heat flux boundary conditions were applied to the exposed foam and aluminum shell surfaces respectively. When the tank pressure reached about 2 atm (0.2 MPa, absolute), the safety valve was opened and deflated to keep the internal pressure constant. This paper simulates the valve opening and closing based on the custom function method to achieve the purpose of controlling the tank pressure. Compared with the experimentally measured liquid level decline rate and unsteady gas phase temperature change, the constructed numerical model can well simulate the complex flow and phase change heat and mass transfer characteristics of the self-pressurization process in the liquid hydrogen tank, which contributed to the foundation for simulating the thermophysical process during the launch process of the real rocket-loaded liquid hydrogen tank.

Key words: hydrogen, scaled tank, self-pressurization, phase change, CFD

CLC Number: 

  • TB 661


Sketch of liquid hydrogen scaled tank"


Computation process of icing without insulation"


Heat leakage rate of icing surface without insulation"


Heat leakage rate at 1000 s under different ice temperature"


Thickness of ice changing with time with insulation"


Heat leakage change on tank surface with insulation"


Mesh resolution and boundary conditions of liquid hydrogen scaled tank"


Comparison of liquid level change of experiment and simulations with different coefficient"


Comparison of gas temperature of experiment and simulations"


Gas pressure change with time in simulations"


Phase distribution in liquid hydrogen scaled tank at different time"


Temperature distribution in liquid hydrogen scaled tank at different time"


Liquid hydrogen streamline distribution at 10 s and 1000 s in scaled tank"

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