No 1 (2021) Technical mechanics
Technical mechanics, 2021, 1, 68 - 76
Rubber as an advanced structural material for thermal conditioning system interfaces
Khorolskyi M., Bigun S.
In integrated launch vehicles, one of the systems responsible for successful launch preparation and
support is a ground thermal conditioning system supplying low-pressure thermostatic air to the
“dry” compartments and head blocks of a launch vehicle. To connect the thermal conditioning system
to the launch vehicle, a special interface is used. The proper functioning of the interface is
critical to the reliability of the ground equipment of the system, the launch vehicle, and the
space complex as a whole. This article describes key requirements to the interfaces of the thermal
conditioning system and the drawbacks of their existing designs. The article proposes a new concept
of interface design, according to which the pipeline of the ground thermal conditioning system is
connected to the inlet tube of the launch vehicle via a corrugated rubber hose composed of three
basic parts. The hose is attached to the inlet tube of the launch vehicle with the help of a metal
lock/unlock device. The proposed solution provides good air tightness, ease of operation, easy
multiple connections to the launch vehicle at different angles, and an automatic disconnection
at launch or a manual disconnection in the case of a cancelled launch. Using rubber, which is a
high-elasticity structural material, in the manufacturing of hoses makes it possible to minimise
the effort required to disconnect the interface from the launch vehicle. In a high elasticity state,
rubber can absorb and dissipate mechanical energy over a wide range of temperatures, which precludes
the vibration caused by the engine operation from being transmitted to the ground thermal
conditioning system. The article presents the key properties of rubber used as a structural material
and its features to be considered in the design of similar devices. In contrast to metal, which
shows two types of deformation (elastic and plastic), rubber can exhibit three types (elastic,
superelastic, and plastic). During the design of interfaces, two types of deformation were taken
into account: elastic and superelastic. Experimental tests of the interface presented in the
article showed its full compliance with the requirements specification.
vehicle inlet tube, corrugated rubber horse, lock/unlock device, superelastic deformation, air tightness
1. Bigun S. A., Yelansky Yu. A., Khorolsky M. S. Types and design features of interfaces of launch vehicle head block and compartment thermal conditioning systems. Space Technology. Missile Armaments. 2013. Iss. 1. Pp. 65-68. (in Russian).
Copyright (©) 2021 Khorolskyi M., Bigun S.
Copyright © 2014-2021 Technical mechanics
==================== Open Access Policy
on the ethics of publications