Thermal analyses are performed on the liquid hydrogen (LH2) tank designed for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) powered by solar arrays and a regenerative proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell. A 14-day cruise mission at a 65,000 ft altitude is considered. Thermal analysis provides the thermal loads on the tank system and the boiling-off rates of LH2. Different approaches are being considered to minimize the boiling-off rates of the LH2. It includes an evacuated multilayer insulation (MLI) versus aerogel insulation on the LH2 tank and aluminum versus stainless steel spacer rings between the inner and outer tank. The resulting boil-off rates of LH2 provided by the one-dimensional model and three-dimensional finite element analysis (FEA) on the tank system are presented and compared to validate the results of the three-dimensional FEA. It concludes that heat flux through penetrations by conduction is as significant as that through insulation around the tank. The tank system with MLI insulation and stainless steel spacer rings result in the lowest boiling-off rate of LH2.
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