Numerical Analysis of a Propellant Tank Slosh Baffle
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A current problem that severely affects the performance of spacecraft is related to slosh dynamics in liquid propellant tanks under microgravity conditions. Accurate prediction of the slosh dynamics is critical for successful mission planning and may impact vehicle control and positioning during rendezvous, docking, and reorientation maneuvers. The purpose of this work is to assess the performance of various slosh-mitigating baffle designs and configurations using computational fluid dynamics. This work develops metrics, including wall wetting, peak slosh amplitude, and bulk fluid motion, to assess the relevance of a particular baffle geometry and placement within the tank for a prescribed bulk fluid motion over a range of acceleration levels. The two- and three-dimensional studies are used to assess the slosh model’s sensitivity to grid resolution, laminar versus turbulent flow models, and Bond number scaling. The results are used to develop a foundation on which to build a full six-degree-of-freedom dynamic mesh model, allowing for fluid-force interaction with a propellant tank, which will be benchmarked against low-gravity slosh flight data.
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