NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Clogging of Joule-Thomson Devices in Liquid Hydrogen HandlingExperiments conducted at the NASA Glenn Research Center indicate that Joule-Thomson devices become clogged when transferring liquid hydrogen (LH2), operating at a temperature range from 20.5 to 24.4 K. Blockage does not exist under all test conditions but is found to be sensitive to the inlet temperature of the LH2. At a subcooled inlet temperature of 20.5 K blockage consistently appears but is dissipated when the fluid temperature is raised above 24.5 K. Clogging steadily reduced flow rate through the orifices, eventually resulting in complete blockage. This tendency poses a threat to spacecraft cryogenic propulsion systems that would utilize passive thermal control systems. We propose that this clogging is due to trace amounts of neon in the regular LH2 supply. Neon freezes at 24.5 K at one atmosphere pressure. It is postulated that between 20.5 and 24.5 K, neon remains in a meta-stable, supercooled liquid state. When impacting the face of an orifice, liquid neon droplets solidify and accumulate, blocking flow over time. The purpose of this test program was to definitively quantify the phenomena experimentally by obtaining direct visual evidence of orifice clogging by accretion from neon contaminates in the LH2 flow stream, utilizing state of the art imaging technology. Tests were conducted with LH2 flowing in the temperature range of 20.5 to 24.4 K. Additional imaging was also done at LH2 temperatures with no flow to verify clear view through the orifice.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Jurns, John M.
(QSS Group, Inc. Cleveland, OH, United States)
Lekki, John D.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 2009
Subject Category
Propellants And Fuels
Report/Patent Number
AIAA Paper-2006-4877
Meeting Information
42nd Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit(Sacremento, CA)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 095240.04.06.03
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
No Preview Available