We have developed a technology that controls the positioning and movement of fuel with acoustic waves. Space missions depend upon various fuel systems to work and in microgravity environments the fuel used is dominated by capillary forces which cause them to coalesce into large droplets or cling to tank walls, which means that optimum fuel usage cannot be achieved. Magna Parva’s Acoustic Fuel Manipulation development aim was to investigate and demonstrate methods that use acoustic streaming to trap propellant in predetermined locations and allow for optimum fuel usage.
To begin the process we researched into state-of-the-art multi phase fluid dynamics modelling. From the research obtained and knowledge of our engineers we designed, built and operated the test chamber in order to father data which was subsequently used to correlate and verify mathematical models. We achieved acoustic fuel manipulation through a number of tasks; acoustic modelling (a computer model examining the interaction between the acoustic waves and the liquid it’s travelling through), analysis, and implementation of a ground test bench that works at both room and cryogenic temperatures. This technology was then used to create a concept for Ariane 5’s oxidiser tank using the acoustic fuel manipulation technology.
- This technology enables maximal fuel usage allowing optimisation of the fuel mass providing more efficient overall systems.
- The technology could be applied to fuel on board Spacecraft to save significant mass by reducing waste fuel and ancillary fuel tank elements such as baffles.