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Dye S.A.,Quest Thermal Group | Johnson W.L.,NASA | Plachta D.W.,NASA | Mills G.L.,Ball Corporation | And 2 more authors.
Cryogenics | Year: 2014

Improvements in cryogenic propellant storage are needed to achieve reduced or Zero Boil Off of cryopropellants, critical for long duration missions. Techniques for reducing heat leak into cryotanks include using passive multi-layer insulation (MLI) and vapor cooled or actively cooled thermal shields. Large scale shields cannot be supported by tank structural supports without heat leak through the supports. Traditional MLI also cannot support shield structural loads, and separate shield support mechanisms add significant heat leak. Quest Thermal Group and Ball Aerospace, with NASA SBIR support, have developed a novel Load Bearing multi-layer insulation (LBMLI) capable of self-supporting thermal shields and providing high thermal performance. We report on the development of LBMLI, including design, modeling and analysis, structural testing via vibe and acoustic loading, calorimeter thermal testing, and Reduced Boil-Off (RBO) testing on NASA large scale cryotanks. LBMLI uses the strength of discrete polymer spacers to control interlayer spacing and support the external load of an actively cooled shield and external MLI. Structural testing at NASA Marshall was performed to beyond maximum launch profiles without failure. LBMLI coupons were thermally tested on calorimeters, with superior performance to traditional MLI on a per layer basis. Thermal and structural tests were performed with LBMLI supporting an actively cooled shield, and comparisons are made to the performance of traditional MLI and thermal shield supports. LBMLI provided a 51% reduction in heat leak per layer over a previously tested traditional MLI with tank standoffs, a 38% reduction in mass, and was advanced to TRL5. Active thermal control using LBMLI and a broad area cooled shield offers significant advantages in total system heat flux, mass and structural robustness for future Reduced Boil-Off and Zero Boil-Off cryogenic missions with durations over a few weeks. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Dye S.A.,Quest Thermal Group | Tyler P.N.,Quest Thermal Group | Mills G.L.,Ball Corporation | Kopelove A.B.,Quest Thermal Group
Cryogenics | Year: 2014

New vehicles need improved cryogenic propellant storage and transfer capabilities for long duration missions. Multilayer insulation (MLI) for cryogenic propellant feedlines is much less effective than MLI tank insulation, with heat leak into spiral wrapped MLI on pipes 3-10 times higher than conventional tank MLI. Better insulation for cryogenic feed lines is an important enabling technology that could help NASA reach cryogenic propellant storage and transfer requirements. Improved insulation for Ground Support Equipment could reduce cryogen losses during launch vehicle loading. Wrapped-MLI (WMLI) is a high performance multilayer insulation using innovative discrete spacer technology specifically designed for cryogenic transfer lines and Vacuum Jacketed Pipe (VJP) to reduce heat flux. The poor performance of traditional MLI wrapped on feed lines is due in part to compression of the MLI layers, with increased interlayer contact and heat conduction. WMLI uses discrete spacers that maintain precise layer spacing, with a unique design to reduce heat leak. A Triple Orthogonal Disk spacer was engineered to minimize contact area/length ratio and reduce solid heat conduction for use in concentric MLI configurations. A new insulation, WMLI, was developed and tested. Novel polymer spacers were designed, analyzed and fabricated; different installation techniques were examined; and rapid prototype nested shell components to speed installation on real world piping were designed and tested. Prototypes were installed on tubing set test fixtures and heat flux measured via calorimetry. WMLI offered superior performance to traditional MLI installed on cryogenic pipe, with 2.2 W/m2 heat flux compared to 26.6 W/m2 for traditional spiral wrapped MLI (5 layers, 77-295 K). WMLI as inner insulation in VJP can offer heat leaks as low as 0.09 W/m, compared to industry standard products with 0.31 W/m. WMLI could enable improved spacecraft cryogenic feedlines and industrial hot/cold transfer lines. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 748.16K | Year: 2015

Advanced space propulsion systems are a critical need for future NASA deep space missions. High thrust engines could revolutionize space exploration. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion ("NTP") is a high thrust/high Isp propulsion technology. Reduced or Zero Boil Off of LH2 propellant for long duration missions is among the critical technology advancements needed for cryogenic propellant storage for both NTP and chemical propulsion. Quest proposes to continue development of Cellular Load Responsive MLI (CLRMLI), an innovative, high performance thermal insulation system. CLRMLI is a novel technology with a cryopumping cellular core containing Load Responsive MLI layers. This new form of insulation uses cryosorption cryopumping to self-evacuate when in contact with cryogenic propellant tanks, allowing high thermal performance in-air and in-space. The Phase I program successfully demonstrated CLRMLI is a feasible and attractive insulation for new launch vehicle platforms and LH2 or LNG powered aircraft. CLRMLI has a measured heat flux of 11.4W/m2, 25X lower than SOFI (vacuum). NASA's Technology Roadmaps call "Zero Boil Off storage of cryogenic propellants for long duration missions" and "Nuclear Thermal Propulsion components and systems" the


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.42K | Year: 2015

Human exploration requires new technologies for advanced in-space propulsion systems. Improvements in cryogenic propellant storage are a critical need. NASA's Technology Roadmaps call "Zero Boil Off storage of cryogenic propellants for long duration missions" the #2 technical challenge for future NASA missions. Heat leak through tank mounts such as struts and skirts is an increasingly large part of the total heat flow into modern, well insulated tanks. Quest Thermal has developed several innovative, advanced thermal insulation systems, offering high performance for specific applications such as on-orbit (IMLI), in-air (LRMLI) or launch ascent (Launch Vehicle MLI). Quest Thermal proposes to design and develop an innovative system capable of vapor cooling structural members such as skirts and struts. Vapor Cooled Structure – MLI (VCSMLI) should provide unique properties, utilizing boiloff propellant to effectively cool otherwise non insulated structures. Quest Thermal Discrete Spacer Technology offers the unique ability to provide controlled layer spacing to act as a simple, efficient flow chamber for utilization of boiloff vapor cooling. Vapor Cooled Structure MLI is a novel system that uses discrete spacers to create and support a sealed vapor transport inner layer within a high performance IMLI system reducing heat leak by nearly 50%. This Phase I program will develop a new insulation system that will be modeled and analyzed to predict heat flux reduction. A specialized vapor cooled structure with a custom spacer will be designed. VCSMLI will be fabricated, installed on a skirt-mounted tank, and performance measured with and without vapor cooling.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 123.62K | Year: 2015

Human exploration requires new technologies for advanced in-space propulsion systems. Improvements in cryogenic propellant storage are a critical need. NASA's Technology Roadmaps call "Zero Boil Off storage of cryogenic propellants for long duration missions" the #2 technical challenge for future NASA missions. Quest Thermal has developed several innovative, advanced thermal insulation systems, offering high performance for specific applications such as on-orbit (IMLI), in-air (LRMLI) or launch ascent (Launch Vehicle MLI). Quest Thermal proposes to design and develop an innovative, multifunctional thermal insulation system for cryogenic propellants on launch vehicles operating during launch ascent, while on-orbit and when in-air/on-Mars surface. Launch Vehicle – Load Responsive MLI (LV-LRMLI) should provide unique properties, including ability to withstand direct exposure to aerodynamic free stream during ascent, high performance in-Mars atmosphere and very high performance in-space/on-orbit. A novel system integrating durable Launch Vehicle outer layers (for high performance on-orbit) with Load Responsive inner layers (for high performance in-Earth atmosphere and on-Mars), could withstand launch profiles and achieve both 0.5 W/m2 on-orbit and 5 W/m2 on-Mars surface performance goals. LV-LRMLI Phase I would review aerodynamic and aerothermal data and determine requirements. Structural/thermal modeling and analysis of LV-LRMLI will be done. Test fixtures will be designed and built that simulate launch loads. LV-LRMLI prototypes will be fabricated and tested with simulated aerodynamic loads and heat flux measured. This Phase I program would model, design, build and test a prototype LV-LRMLI system, validating aerodynamic durability and high thermal performance both on-orbit and in-Mars atmosphere, and demonstrating feasibility.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 123.76K | Year: 2013

Cryogenic propellants are important to NASA's missions. Improvements in cryogenic propellant storage and transfer are critical to future long duration NASA spacecraft and missions. Advanced Cooled Shield - IMLI (ACS-IMLI) is an innovative ultra high performance system in which an Advanced Cooled Shield is fully integrated into the IMLI layer structure, reducing mass, forming a single robust system, with integrated cooled gas distribution in a cooled shield layer, eliminating heat flux through thermal shield tank standoffs or supports, and operable in both passive (vapor cooled shield) and active (broad area cooled shield) modes.NASA's TA-02 Roadmap calls "Zero Boil Off storage of cryogenic propellants for long duration missions" the #2 ranked technical challenge for NASA mission objectives and needs. Quest Thermal Group has developed IMLI, an advanced thermal insulation that uses proprietary discrete spacer technology to reduce heat flux. IMLI's unique structure is able to self support various loads, including a thin, lightweight vacuum shell for in-air operation, high strength ballistic layers for MMOD shielding, an external Broad Area Cooling Shield with cooling tubing, or an integrated thermal shield within the layers. IMLI's layer structure gives it unique capabilities, such as an embedded conductive, sealed thermal barrier.In this Phase I program, an ACS-IMLI system would be modeled, analyzed, designed, fabricated, installed on a cryotank, and tested for structural strength and thermal performance. Advanced Cooled Shield?IMLI (ACS-IMLI) could provide a lower mass, single insulation system, operable in both passive (vapor cooled) and active (cryocooled) modes, with 3?4X lower heat flux than IMLI alone. ACS-IMLI could help meet NASA's cryogenic fluid management requirements such as Zero Boil Off for cryogenic propellant storage and transfer.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.91K | Year: 2014

Advanced space propulsion systems are a critical need for future NASA deep space missions. High thrust or high Isp engines could revolutionize space exploration. Nuclear Thermal Propulsion ("NTP") is a high thrust/high Isp propulsion technology, with a demonstrated Isp ~850, twice that of chemical rockets. Zero boil off of LH2 propellant for long duration missions is among the critical technology advancements needed for NTP. Quest proposes to develop and test an innovative, high performance thermal insulation system, designed to provide high performance on large LH2 tanks. Cellular Load Responsive ("CLR") multilayer insulation integrates a mid-size cryopumping self-evacuating vacuum cell core with load bearing LRMLI within the compartments. CLR can offer a structural, high performance insulation system, that is damage tolerant, can support external loads such as thermal shields, and provides good thermal insulation both in-air (for ground and ascent phases) and in-vacuum (once in-space). CLR could provide 92% lower heat leak in-air during ground hold, and 97% lower heat leak in-space than SOFI. NASA's Technology Roadmaps call "Zero Boil Off storage of cryogenic propellants for long duration missions" and "Nuclear Thermal Propulsion components and systems" the #2 and #7 ranked technical challenge for future NASA missions. In this Phase I program, a CLRMLI system would be modeled, analyzed, designed, fabricated, installed on a cryotank, and tested for thermal performance for ground/ascent and in-space operation. CLRMLI could provide a robust SOFI replacement, with higher performance, lower mass, able to eliminate freezing/cryopumping of air components during ground and ascent stages. CLRMLI could help meet NASA's cryogenic fluid management requirements such as Zero Boil Off for cryogenic propellant storage and transfer.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 747.23K | Year: 2016

Human exploration requires advances in propulsion for transport to Earth orbit, the moon, Mars and beyond. New technologies are needed for advanced in-space propulsion systems to support exploration, reduce travel time, reduce acquisition costs and reduce operational costs. The goal is a breakthrough in cost and reliability for a wide range of payload sizes and types supporting future orbital flight vehicles. Lower cost and reliable space access will provide significant benefits to civil space (human and robotic exploration beyond Earth as well as Earth science), to commercial industry, to educational institutions, for support to the International Space Station National Laboratory, and to national security. NASA?s Technology Roadmaps call Zero Boil Off storage of cryogenic propellants for long duration missions? the #2 ranked technical challenge for future NASA missions, and new technologies are necessary for improved cryogenic propellant storage and transfer to support NASA's exploration goals. Heat leak through tank mounts such as struts and skirts is an increasingly large part of the total heat flow into modern, well insulated tanks. Specifically, NASA has a high priority for simple mass efficient techniques for vapor cooling of structural skirts (aluminum, stainless, or composites) on large upper stages containing liquid hydrogen and liquid methane (can include hydrogen catalyst). Improved cryogenic insulation that can incorporate vapor cooling to reduce the heat flux through struts and skirts would benefit cryogenic fluid management, and help towards achieving zero boil off.Vapor Cooled Structure MLI (VCSMLI) is a novel system that uses discrete spacers to create a sealed vapor layer within IMLI for lightweight, efficient vapor cooling of tank skirts. In the Phase I program, VCSMLI was modeled, designed, fabricated, installed on a tank skirt and its thermal performance measured. VCSMLI provided a 41% reduction in total system heat flux reaching TRL 4.


Quest Thermal Group | Entity website


Quest Thermal Group | Entity website

Quest Thermal Group is a technology and product development engineering firm, specializing in the design and development of advanced thermal insulation systems. Quest Thermal is focused on developing and bringing to market advanced, next generation thermal insulation solutions for aerospace and terrestrial/commercial applications ...

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