Spacecraft Propellant Sloshing

The term “sloshing” describes the movement of liquids in partially filled containers. Sloshing is key for aerospace applications because it can significantly alter the dynamics of space vehicles or prevent propellant ingestion into their engines. Although research on liquid sloshing has been carried out for the last 70 years, multiple questions remain at the fundamental and applied levels.

Rohan Paladugu and Jaiden Patel working on their propellant sloshing payload.

Our laboratory hosts a series of undergraduate-led projects on liquid sloshing. We are developing an open-source Graphical User Interface (GUI) that implements and expands the SLOSH code conceived by Lomen in the 1965 NASA reports CR-222 and CR-230, later adopted by F.T. Dodge in his 2000 textbook “The New Dynamic Behavior of Liquids in Moving Containers.” We are also building a sloshing testbed to characterize the performance of different damping devices, designing sounding rocket payloads to assess the effects of liquid movement on rocket dynamics, and conceiving new low-gravity propellant management methods using neutral buoyancy mixtures. Our goals are to train the next generation of space engineers while providing open-access tools to the space community and leading the design of novel sloshing control and characterization mechanisms.

Current undergraduate students at Georgia Tech are welcome to join our group. See further details in the link below, and don’t forget to submit your application before Phase II registration starts!

Conference Papers & Presentations:

  • Brian González, Pablo Martín García, Evan Thomas, Alba Casas Gómez, Juan Trobajo Flecha, Pablo Chiva Ruiz, Manuel Cortes Hernán, Rabia Shahid, Justin Effendi, Evan Sánchez, and Álvaro Romero-Calvo, “Open-Source Propellant Sloshing Modeling and Simulation“, In 2024 AAS Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, Breckenridge, CO, February 1-7, 2024