SCIENCE CHINA Technological Sciences, Volume 61 , Issue 7 : 994-1002(2018) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11431-017-9250-x

Design and heat transfer analysis of a compound multi-layer insulations for use in high temperature cylinder thermal protection systems

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  • ReceivedDec 23, 2017
  • AcceptedApr 8, 2018
  • PublishedMay 30, 2018


Thermal protection systems are very essential for high temperature thermal conductivity measurement system to reduce the heat loss to environment at the range of 600–1800 K. A compound multi-layer insulations structure which composed of inner carbon fibrous materials and outer alternately arranged alumina fibrous materials and high reflectivity foils is proposed for use in high temperature cylinder thermal protection systems. A coupled conductive and radiation governing equations is presented for heat transfer analysis of the structure. The finite volume method and the discrete ordinate method are used to solve the governing equations. The optimization structure of the compound multi-layer insulations is investigated by considering the pressure of the gas, the density of the carbon fibrous materials, the density of the alumina fibrous materials, the number of reflective foil layers and the emissivity of reflective foils. The results show that the compound structure has the best thermal insulation performance when the pressure of the gas is below 0.01 kPa, the density of carbon fibrous materials is 180 kg m−3, the density of alumina fibrous materials is 256 kg m−3 and the number of reflective foil layers is 39. In addition, the thermal insulation performance is much better when the emissivity of reflective foils is lower.

Funded by

the National Natural Science Foundation of China(Grant,No.,51225602)


This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51225602).


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  • Figure 1

    (Color online) Schematic of the compound multi-layer insulations for high temperature cylinder heating system. The dimension is given in millimeter.

  • Figure 2

    (Color online) The heat transfer model of the compound multi-layer insulation.

  • Figure 3

    (Color online) Grid independent study for different hot boundary temperature.

  • Figure 4

    (Color online) Steady state temperature distribution of the compound multi-layer insulation for hot boundary temperature of 1800 K.

  • Figure 5

    (Color online) Comparison of effective thermal conductivity of multi-layer insulations between numerical results and experimental data from ref. [31].

  • Figure 6

    (Color online) External surface temperature of the compound MLIs varied with hot boundary temperature under different gas pressure.

  • Figure 7

    (Color online) External temperature of the compound MLIs varied with hot boundary temperature under different density of carbon fibrous materials.

  • Figure 8

    (Color online) External temperature of the compound MLIs varied with hot boundary temperature under different density of alumina fibrous materials.

  • Figure 9

    (Color online) External temperature of the compound MLIs varied with hot boundary temperature under different number of the reflective foil layers.

  • Figure 10

    (Color online) External temperature of the compound MLI varied with hot boundary temperature under different emissivity of metal screen layer.

  • Table 1   Thermal properties at and single layer dimension


    Density (kg m−3)

    Thermal conductivity (W m−1 K−1)

    Thickness (mm)

    Carbon fibrous insulations




    Alumina fibrous insulations





    ceramic foils




  • Table 2   Thermal properties of the materials used in present work



    Alumina thermal conductivitykf1(W m−1k−1)


    Gas thermal conductivity at atmospheric pressurekg*(W m−1 k−1)


    Amorphous carbon thermal conductivitykf2(W m−1 k−1)


    Alumina fibrous albedo of scattering ω (N A-1)


    Alumina fibrous specific extinction coefficient e (m2 kg−1)


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