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Modelling of liquid oxygen nozzle flows under subcritical and supercritical pressure conditions

Lyras, T. ORCID: 0000-0002-9783-4786, Karathanasis, I. ORCID: 0000-0001-9025-2866, Kyriazis, N. , Koukouvinis, F. ORCID: 0000-0002-3945-3707 & Gavaises, M. (2021). Modelling of liquid oxygen nozzle flows under subcritical and supercritical pressure conditions. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 177, article number 121559. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheatmasstransfer.2021.121559


The two-phase flow of liquid oxygen in a converging-diverging nozzle has been numerically predicted at conditions resembling those that prevail in the lower-stage boosters of rocket engines realising lift off, as well as in the respective upper stages operating in sub-atmospheric pressures. A comparative evaluation of the predictive capability of a pressure and a density-based solver with various approaches regarding the imposed phase-change rate and thermodynamics closure have been performed. The departure from thermodynamic equilibrium during phase-change has been taken into account via implementation of a bubble-dynamics model employing the Hertz-Knudsen equation in the pressure based solver, whereas thermodynamic equilibrium is adopted in the density-based solver. Tabulated data for the variation of the fluid thermodynamic properties have been derived by the Helmholtz Equation of State (EoS) in a modelling approach universal for both the sub-and supercritical states. This approach has been comparatively assessed in the sub-critical regime against the bubble-dynamics-based model including different EoS for the liquid/vapour phases and against a different tabulated approach based on the NIST dataset for supercritical injection. In terms of flow physics, more severe flow expansion in the diverging part of the nozzle has been detected for subcritical pressures, leading to supersonic flow velocities and significant cooling of the fluid mixture. Complementary Detached Eddy Simulations (DES) have provided detailed insight on the complex expansion phenomena and flow instabilities manifesting on the divergent part of the nozzle for subcritical-injection conditions. The comparison of the numerical predictions against available experimental data and analytical solutions demonstrates the suitability of the employed methodologies in describing the evolution of the cryogenic oxygen flow expansion and phase-change.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: cryogenic LOx, rocket engine, real-fluid thermodynamics, flash boiling, compressible flow
Subjects: T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
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Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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