Research Papers: Heat and Mass Transfer

Selection and Characterization of Green Propellants for Micro-Resistojets

[+] Author and Article Information
Daduí C. Guerrieri

Space Engineering Department,
Faculty of Aerospace Engineering,
Delft University of Technology,
Delft 2629 HS, The Netherlands
e-mail: D.CordeiroGuerrieri@tudelft.nl

Marsil A. C. Silva, Angelo Cervone, Eberhard Gill

Space Engineering Department,
Faculty of Aerospace Engineering,
Delft University of Technology,
Delft 2629 HS, The Netherlands

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received December 6, 2016; final manuscript received April 19, 2017; published online May 23, 2017. Editor: Portonovo S. Ayyaswamy.

J. Heat Transfer 139(10), 102001 (May 23, 2017) (9 pages) Paper No: HT-16-1787; doi: 10.1115/1.4036619 History: Received December 06, 2016; Revised April 19, 2017

The number of launches of nano- and pico-satellites has significantly increased over the past decade. Miniaturized subsystems, such as micropropulsion, for these classes of spacecraft are rapidly evolving and, in particular, micro-resistojets have shown great potential of applicability. One of the key points to address in the development of such devices is the propellants selection, since it directly influences the performance. This paper presents a methodology for the selection and characterization of fluids that are suitable for use as propellants in two micro-resistojet concepts: vaporizing liquid micro-resistojet (VLM) and the low-pressure micro-resistojet (LPM). In these concepts, the propellant is heated by a nonchemical energy source, in this case an electrical resistance. In total 95 fluids have been investigated including conventional and unconventional propellants. A feasibility assessment step is carried out following a trade-off using a combination of the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) and the Pugh matrix. A final list of nine best-scoring candidates has been analyzed in depth with respect to the thermal characteristics involved in the process, performance parameters, and safety issues. For both concepts, water has been recognized as a very promising candidate along with other substances such as ammonia and methanol.

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Fig. 2

Results of the Pugh matrix presented as a boxplot, where the middle line of the box represents the median, the upper and lower borders of the box represent the upper and lower quartiles, respectively, the top and bottom lines are the maximum and minimum value, and the crosses represent the outliers

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Fig. 3

Saturation curve. The circles means triple point and the crosses means critical point. The fluid is liquid on the left side of the curve, gaseous on its right side.

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Fig. 1

The AHP resulting in the weight ratio for each criterion

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Fig. 7

ΔV per volume of fluid versus heating power (VLM case)

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Fig. 8

ΔV per volume of fluid versus heating power (LPM case)

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Fig. 4

Delta enthalpy for each propellant, at a chamber pressure of 200 kPa, as a function of the desired final chamber temperature

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Fig. 5

Specific impulse versus heating power for various propellants (VLM case) according to the variations of temperature and pressure considered in Tables 3 and 4

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Fig. 6

Specific impulse versus heating power for various propellants (LPM case) according to the variations of temperature and pressure considered in Table 5




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