›› 2012, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (4): 77-83.doi: 10.3780/j.issn.1000-758X.2012.04.011

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Design and Test of an Ultrasonic Flow Meter for Orbital Refueling

Yu Yang1,2,Ding Fenglin2,Zong Guanghua1   

  1. (1 Robotics Institute, Beihang University, Beijing 100191)(2 Beijing Institute of Control Engineering, Beijing 100190)
  • Received:2011-11-15 Revised:2012-02-09 Online:2012-08-25 Published:2012-08-25

Abstract: An Ultrasonic Flow Meter (UFM) was designed for accurate propellant gauging. Based on the research of transit time measurement, the requirements for pipe structure design were proposed. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) was used to simulate the velocity distribution of four different pipe structures, and an optimal pipe structure was designed based on the CFD result. Chopper stabilized comparator in the signal processing electronics ensured the time measurement accuracy by using the threshold value comparing technique. After calibration, the ultrasonic flow meter can achieve an accuracy of 0.1% for range 0~150g/s. In order to test the function of the flow meter in orbital refueling, a ground simulation experiment was carried out. The result of the ground simulation experiment shows that the implementation of ultrasonic flow meter is practical for orbital refueling and quite necessary for performance observation during the refueling process.

Key words: Ultrasonic flow meter, Flow measurement, Orbital refueling, Propulsion system, Spacecraft