Author Topic: ULA Innovation: Integrated Vehicle Fluids (IVF)  (Read 123281 times)

Offline watermod

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Doesn't this imply it should be possible to modify heavy construction equipment like say various diggers to be able to work on surfaces like the moons?

Offline muomega0

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And ULA chose the to work on IVF rather than launch costs.
Sarcasm hat off, but IVF promises to cost less, reduce upper stage complexity, and improve the performance of the upper stages. It reduces costs, not all of them, but a small portion in it's own right.
clearly 'less cost' depends on 220M vs 20M per flight and the kg of propellant burned for power....lots of hand waving in this entire thread.

The problem statement was to get rid of GHe, Hydrazine, large Batteries & high pressures; enable depot based space transport. IVF does not get rid of GHe, but does get rid of large batteries, but still needs small batteries--not a bad start.

If your transfer stage does not include a power source, then perhaps the IVF concept is 'better'.

If your transfer stage/depot includes a power source, burning hydrogen is not efficient nor cost effective unless the mission duration is a few days to a week or so.  IOW, why include an IC engine in IVF, unless the stage *also* has a boiloff problem?   As a backup power supply? Think about it....

Actually this is a moot point, since the USG can't dictate hardware choices to private companies.  Why only place two engines on a core, or add solids on a next gen LV?!

I must have missed something...what were the specific benefits for a BEO architecture?
That is not a primary driver
Of course!  the space policy of keeping everything separate is still in place.

Offline Jim

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IVF does not get rid of GHe,

Yes, it does and also hydrazine.

Offline Jim

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Of course!  the space policy of keeping everything separate is still in place.

The hand waving is in the link, which is an attempt to bring up the same unsubstantiated nonsense combined with flawed logic.
The policy is a good one.  Let market forces drive requirements.
« Last Edit: 04/06/2015 04:50 pm by Jim »

Offline TrevorMonty



Thanks Donald for patent. Very informative, the number of benefits is huge.
Nice to see electrical system will benefit from hybrid car technology ie combination start/generator, batteries.
I must have missed something...what were the specific benefits for a BEO architecture?
    Launch hydrogen and oxygen at 225M/20mT and burning it with a piston engine

And ULA chose the to work on IVF rather than launch costs.

ULA has chosen to save millions on build and launch costs of Centuar.

Offline Damon Hill

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IVF as envisioned in the near term is not all things to all possible missions, nor should it be.  Missions that last from a few hours to a few days don't need the near-heroic measures of advanced insulation and thermal control, and active refrigeration.  What IVF would accomplish is to >save money< by eliminating systems, saving weight and increasing payloads substantially as a direct result for any mission but even more so for the longer ones, by using a resource that was otherwise being wasted.  Looks like a big win to me.

The returns are diminishing as mission time is extended beyond perhaps a week or so.  Other technologies have to be brought into play to conserve the cryogenic propellants.  Those missions haven't been possible up to now anyway, so what's the complaint?

One unstated advantage of eliminating hydrazine for ullage and attitude thrusters is a big jump in specific impulse from about 235 seconds to nearly 400 seconds.  Just by using the boiloff of cryogenic propellants that would otherwise be wasted.

That a much smaller and lighter battery is still used on the IVF platforms is part of the advantage of the concept; it allows the IC engine to be sized for average power requirements rather than peak, saving weight.  The battery is available for peak power, thus it is a hybrid system with greater flexibility.
« Last Edit: 04/06/2015 08:26 pm by Damon Hill »

Offline john smith 19

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It isn't the battery, it is helium.  The start pulse has little on effect on the batteries.
True, although I'm not sure that was actually known before the analysis for IVF started.

That said GHe tanks are pretty notorious for the very small amount of actual gas they hold. IIRC the Shuttle SSME He tanks weighted 270lb to hold 30lb of Helium.

clearly 'less cost' depends on 220M vs 20M per flight and the kg of propellant burned for power....lots of hand waving in this entire thread.

The problem statement was to get rid of GHe, Hydrazine, large Batteries & high pressures; enable depot based space transport.
Where did you get that idea?
Quote
IVF does not get rid of GHe, but does get rid of large batteries, but still needs small batteries--not a bad start.
I'm not sure how much you understand about how IVF works but it replaces the GHe to pressurize the tanks with warm GO2 and GH2 heated by the IC engine. while for most applications the heat from the engines cooling system is a waste product on IVF it's one of the main products of the system. The battery is much smaller than the current battery boxes and runs around 300-400V, in keeping with Hybrid vehicle technology, rather than aerospace practice.
Quote
If your transfer stage does not include a power source, then perhaps the IVF concept is 'better'.

If your transfer stage/depot includes a power source, b

urning hydrogen is not efficient nor cost effective unless the mission duration is a few days to a week or so. 
OTOH if you want a low cost (IE minimal development cost) to deliver a depot architecture at short notice IVF has benefits.

At some point lifetime/mission complexity increase begins to require GNC "upgrade" beyond existing profiles, to put these benefits to effective use?

Again, only, solely addressing launch service benefits to existing/near term customers.
In addition to raising the launch mass by a 1/2 tonne that ability to run with multiple burns means you could put larger payloads into higher orbits, or higher payloads on escape trajectories with a more complex set of burns before separation. So the payload gets to keep more of its mass.
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Offline Jim

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It isn't the battery, it is helium.  The start pulse has little on effect on the batteries.
True, although I'm not sure that was actually known before the analysis for IVF started.


It was well known.  He has always been the limiting factor for restarts.  That goes back decades, since the elimination of boost pumps.

BTW, 30lb of He is a lot of gas.
« Last Edit: 04/06/2015 11:28 pm by Jim »

Offline Damon Hill

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As I recall, the RL10 thrust vectoring actuators and most/all valves were pneumatic (He?) and have been upgraded to electromechanical.  I'm not sure what He is used for now, apart from pressurizing the hydrazine and cryogenic propellant tanks.  If there are other functions, perhaps IVF will use hydrogen gas or other methods (pyro?). 

The RL10 startup includes bootstrapping from vaporized hydrogen from the engine tube walls to spin up the hydrogen turbine (oxygen turbine is geared from this); is there a helium boost/purge as well?  At least one known RL10 start failure was because the engine was too cold to provide the necessary latent heat.

Offline mlindner

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Basically, IVF takes a major liability of liquid hydrogen, and turns it into an asset.  The hydrogen and oxygen are going to boil off and be lost anyway, so use it for ullage, attitude control, pressurization and electric power.  Eliminate the hydrazine, high pressure helium and most of the batteries, which get heavy on extended duration flights.  IVF can increase payload by upwards of a ton, and increase flight duration to days instead of hours.

But its a giant piston engine with a bunch of steel in it. How is that lighter than anything else? How does using the IVF avoid having to use ullage thrusters? Still not understanding.

Why was hydrogen fuel cell chosen against?
« Last Edit: 04/07/2015 09:28 am by mlindner »

Offline TrevorMonty

Basically, IVF takes a major liability of liquid hydrogen, and turns it into an asset.  The hydrogen and oxygen are going to boil off and be lost anyway, so use it for ullage, attitude control, pressurization and electric power.  Eliminate the hydrazine, high pressure helium and most of the batteries, which get heavy on extended duration flights.  IVF can increase payload by upwards of a ton, and increase flight duration to days instead of hours.

But its a giant piston engine with a bunch of steel in it. How is that lighter than anything else? How does using the IVF avoid having to use ullage thrusters? Still not understanding.

Why was hydrogen fuel cell chosen against?

I suggest you read articles posted earlier in this thread especially the patent link, it has most detailed information in it.

Offline Jim

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But its a giant piston engine with a bunch of steel in it. How is that lighter than anything else? How does using the IVF avoid having to use ullage thrusters? Still not understanding.

Why was hydrogen fuel cell chosen against?

It isn't giant nor uses a bunch of steel.  hydrogen fuel cell doesn't have the power density for running pumps nor does it provide a source of enthalpy.   Read the docs.

Offline Designvis

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There are a couple  anchor concepts that make IVF attractive. The first is that the wall-conduction waste heat from the ICE is put to work effectively doubling the "efficiency" of the system.  This is rare since nearly all heat engines cannot do this and you end up with that depressing Carnot efficiency thing.  The ullage gases are not just a fuel- they are a repository for energy that we charge and discharge just like a battery.  Normally such low-availability energy is just not useful.  Here it is.  The exhaust energy is put to work too settling the vehicle.  When you combine these efficient uses with more or less free reactants it's hard to beat.  This feels like cheating and to me is a minor victory over the annoying limits you are confronted with in your first Thermodynamics courses.

The second is that we don't concentrate much energy in the system. Most aerospace fluid systems are all about keeping some genie in a bottle. Either high pressure gases or high pressure liquids or major electrochemical sources.  This costs money and their mass efficiency is just terrible.  The main vehicle tanks are by far the most effective (non-nuclear) way to store energy yet conceived.  IVF is just a decent conversion system.  When things are off pressures are at car tire levels- nice and boring.  You don't have to worry about tiny persistent leaks of 4000 psi gas slowly but surely killing the system over three weeks.  The safety and reliability impacts of this are huge.   

IVF works beautifully in concert with fuel cells and solar electric systems.  You let those systems handle long-duration low-level power demands and turn IVF on when you need to do heavy lifting. This enables them to be compact and light since they don't have to handle peak loads.  You can even eliminate dedicated controllers and power processing units which are major elements in the cost of those systems. The mission transition time is dependent on tank thermo, power level and other stuff but its usually after many days. 

When you think about IVF your brain is going to calibrate the images to engines that you are familiar with- car engines and such.  Imagine a toy engine that would fit on a cafeteria tray and you are closer to reality.  Such an ICE can easily produce more power than we can put to good use now.  When running it has all the drama of a sewing machine.  It can run the upper stage, payload and booster if you want without breaking much out of idle.  We expect that clever young engineers will come up with all sorts of things to do with that power once it becomes available.   

The thrusters now- those are wicked.  When fired in air they make up for the lack of noise from the rest of the system.  Of course they get fired mostly in vacuum so the thrill is gone. 

IVF is highly derivative of systems that have been used over the years and is not that scary of a leap- it is straightforward evolutionary thinking.  It takes concepts from Saturn, Shuttle, Centaur, Delta, 787, a century of automotive ICE design and the Prius and combines them in a new synthesis.  The architecture has shifted nine times since its inception as we learned what works and what doesn't.  A lot of it is how to make something efficient that is also low cost.  When its fielded it will seem obvious and boring. 


Offline muomega0

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clearly 'less cost' depends on 220M vs 20M per flight and the kg of propellant burned for power....lots of hand waving in this entire thread.

The problem statement was to get rid of GHe, Hydrazine, large Batteries & high pressures; enable depot based space transport.
Where did you get that idea?
Consolidating equipment has been a goal for decades.   However, per IVF for Long Duration
Quote from: ULASpaceAccessSociety
Goals
Slash costs by designing in the best possible system reliability
  - Get rid of GHe, Hydrazine, large Batteries & high pressures
  - Simple, commercial designs and materials, no toxic/hazardous operations
 Amplify performance & mission capability
  – Eliminate restrictions to flight duration except by main vehicle propellants
Support all likely future transport architectures
  - Enable depot based space transport

Quote
IVF does not get rid of GHe, but does get rid of large batteries, but still needs small batteries--not a bad start.
I'm not sure how much you understand about how IVF works but it replaces the GHe to pressurize the tanks with warm GO2 and GH2 heated by the IC engine. while for most applications the heat from the engines cooling system is a waste product on IVF it's one of the main products of the system. The battery is much smaller than the current battery boxes and runs around 300-400V, in keeping with Hybrid vehicle technology, rather than aerospace practice.
Adding warm G02 and GH2 to tanks is not desireable if one is seeking low to zero boiloff.  Yes, GHe is eliminated per the documents.

The two key features of IVF:
   - instead of dumping propellants overboard they are used as fuel
   - the fuel is used to power an internal combustion engine
       - mechanical power to starter/generator for electrical current
       - mechanical power for fluid pumps


OTOH if you want a low cost (IE minimal development cost) to deliver a depot architecture at short notice IVF has benefits.
Quote
So the goal was to eliminate restrictions to flight duration and enable depots for future architectures per the ULA documents.   How is it doing?

IVF as envisioned in the near term is not all things to all possible missions, nor should it be.  Missions that last from a few hours to a few days don't need the near-heroic measures of advanced insulation and thermal control, and active refrigeration.  What IVF would accomplish is to >save money< by eliminating systems, saving weight and increasing payloads substantially as a direct result for any mission but even more so for the longer ones, by using a resource that was otherwise being wasted.

The returns are diminishing as mission time is extended beyond perhaps a week or so.  Other technologies have to be brought into play to conserve the cryogenic propellants.  Those missions haven't been possible up to now anyway, so what's the complaint?
The 'complaint' is that the system states all these grand goals, then compromises the IVF system architecture to meet a short term goal.

The limitation?

There are a couple  anchor concepts that make IVF attractive. The first is that the wall-conduction waste heat from the ICE is put to work effectively doubling the "efficiency" of the system.  This is rare since nearly all heat engines cannot do this and you end up with that depressing Carnot efficiency thing.  The ullage gases are not just a fuel- they are a repository for energy that we charge and discharge just like a battery.   The exhaust energy is put to work too settling the vehicle.  When you combine these efficient uses with more or less free reactants it's hard to beat. 

The main vehicle tanks are by far the most effective (non-nuclear) way to store energy yet conceived.

IVF works beautifully in concert with fuel cells and solar electric systems.  You let those systems handle long-duration low-level power demands and turn IVF on when you need to do heavy lifting. This enables them to be compact and light since they don't have to handle peak loads.  You can even eliminate dedicated controllers and power processing units which are major elements in the cost of those systems.
Actually it does not work in concert with solar electric systems, which could easily provide power for zero boiloff and to provide settling, etc....  so all one needs to do is power the pumps.

The limitation is using mechanical power for the pumps, the heart of the system, for long term missions.  it is understood that without another power source and for short term missions, direct mechanical power is more efficient, especially if 'waste' fuel is available.
« Last Edit: 04/07/2015 04:39 pm by muomega0 »

Offline john smith 19

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When its fielded it will seem obvious and boring.
Sadly many things do after they have been fielded.

Usually by the same people who considered they dangerous, complex and generally unworkable.  :(

However to return to topic do you (or anyone) know if 2018 is the first all up test or will there be any partial tests of various sections before then?
MCT ITS BFR SS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFSC engined CFRP SS structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of Earth & Mars atmospheric flight.First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¬cheap

Offline Jim

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Adding warm G02 and GH2 to tanks is not desireable is one is seeking low to zero boiloff.  Yes, GHe is eliminated per the documents.


The 'complaint' is that the system states all these grand goals, then compromises the IVF system architecture to meet a short term goal.


1.  warm G02 and GH2 is only added during engine operation where boil off is not a concern.

2.  Pray tell, how is the IVF system architecture "compromised"?

Offline Jim

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When its fielded it will seem obvious and boring. 

Will make the days before and including countdown boring.  No SCAPE ops, no high press gas loading, etc.
On launch day, I want to see a person on console turn a starter key to power up Centaur.

Offline muomega0

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Adding warm G02 and GH2 to tanks is not desireable is one is seeking low to zero boiloff.  Yes, GHe is eliminated per the documents.


The 'complaint' is that the system states all these grand goals, then compromises the IVF system architecture to meet a short term goal.


1.  warm G02 and GH2 is only added during engine operation where boil off is not a concern.

2.  Pray tell, how is the IVF system architecture "compromised"?
1. So this is not part of the overall future architectures...understood.  Why not cool the gas?
2. The pumps are mechanically driven.  So how are the pumps powered by Electric/Nuclear propulsion?
« Last Edit: 04/07/2015 04:49 pm by muomega0 »

Offline baldusi

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IVF is highly derivative of systems that have been used over the years and is not that scary of a leap- it is straightforward evolutionary thinking.  It takes concepts from Saturn, Shuttle, Centaur, Delta, 787, a century of automotive ICE design and the Prius and combines them in a new synthesis.  The architecture has shifted nine times since its inception as we learned what works and what doesn't.  A lot of it is how to make something efficient that is also low cost.  When its fielded it will seem obvious and boring.
Let's not forget that the Soviet N-1 used an RP-1/LOX turbine for general power generation. It it even kept running a bit longer than the rocket was in one piece. And could be run even after it crashed back to earth on one case. So using the propellants on a thermal engine to generate power is also a used method.

Offline Jim

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1. So this is not part of the overall future architectures...understood.  Why not cool the gas?
2. The pumps are mechanically driven.  So how are the pumps powered by Electric/Nuclear propulsion?

1.  It not needed to be cooled.
2.  This concept is not applicable to Electric/Nuclear propulsion.  It is specific to cryogenic chemical upper stages

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