Equilibrium Interface Position During Operation of a Fixed Cylinder Vortex Separator Conference Paper uri icon


  • Microgravity separation is a critical need for the development of high performance thermal management and advanced life support systems. Texas A&M has been working in the area of vortex separation for several years (Carron and Best, 1991; Kurwitz and Best, 2000). Recent reduced gravity flight data has been analyzed to compare the interface position and shape as a function of liquid inventory and rotational speed. A comparison of the measured interface location with the interface shape predicted from irrotational flow resulted in a RMSD of 0.45 cm and the RMSD of the measured interface location to an interface determined assuming that the gas forms a right circular cylinder centrally located in the separator was 0.7015. The accuracy of the prediction method is better at higher rotational speeds corresponding to larger flow rates. The high degree of fidelity between the measured interface location with that predicted using a simple irrotational flow assumption indicates that secondary flows are small in magnitude compared to the rotational flow of liquid and provides a high degree of confidence in the prediction of reduced gravity performance. © 2010 American Institute of Physics.

author list (cited authors)

  • Gaul, L., Papas, Z., Kurwitz, C., Best, F. R., & Robertson, G. A.

publication date

  • January 1, 2010 11:11 AM


  • AIP  Publisher