Serious Citizen Space and Propellant Tank Slosh-Plates

Rocket science is hard. No surprise there to anyone who’s paying attention. Anyone who’s even dabbled beyond the simplest Estes rockets knows how quickly scale-up, hybrid or liquid fuel, and more sophisticated guidance, flight-control, and communications systems complexity everything and compound challenges.

This makes it all the more impressive to see citizen space efforts like Copenhagen Suborbitals. This 100% crowdfunded organization is looking to create the first citizen-based human space program. Their YouTube channel details all of their builds, their launches, and the future projects they’re working towards.

In this video, they detail a specific problem they’ve been dealing with and their solution. Rocket fuel propellant tanks undergo all sorts of stresses and movement which could cause dangerous, destabilizing sloshing of fuel. To prevent this, they lined the inside of the tanks with “slosh-plates” designed to keep such fluid dynamics to a minimum.

But there’s another problem that must be addressed. Since the tanks deform and expand in flight, the welded slosh plates need to expand, too. This is designed into them, with slits in their sides that allow some give in them as the tanks expand.

In the video, they also talk about how they hacked their long-seam welder to do circumferential welding on the tanks. Fascinating stuff.

Here is their website if you want to know more and help support their efforts.

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