NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Tank InsulationFor NASA's Apollo program, McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Company, Huntington Beach, California, developed and built the S-IVB, uppermost stage of the three-stage Saturn V moonbooster. An important part of the development task was fabrication of a tank to contain liquid hydrogen fuel for the stage's rocket engine. The liquid hydrogen had to be contained at the supercold temperature of 423 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. The tank had to be perfectly insulated to keep engine or solar heat from reaching the fuel; if the hydrogen were permitted to warm up, it would have boiled off, or converted to gaseous form, reducing the amount of fuel available to the engine. McDonnell Douglas' answer was a supereffective insulation called 3D, which consisted of a one-inch thickness of polyurethane foam reinforced in three dimensions with fiberglass threads. Over a 13-year development and construction period, the company built 30 tanks and never experienced a failure. Now, after years of additional development, an advanced version of 3D is finding application as part of a containment system for transporting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) by ship.
Document ID
Document Type
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 1979
Publication Information
Publication: Spinoff 1979
Subject Category
Technology Utilization and Surface Transportation
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Available Downloads

NameType 20070019738.pdf STI

Related Records

IDRelationTitle20070019711Analytic PrimarySpinoff 1979