SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1989

Design of an Ignition-Resistant, High-Pressure, High-Temperature Oxygen Valve


Components used in high-pressure, high-temperature, flowing oxygen can be susceptible to ignition and combustion when particles travelling with the gas stream impact surfaces. Such impact was responsible for the violent combustion of the original Space Shuttle Main Propulsion System oxygen flow control valves during qualification testing at the NASA White Sands Test Facility. This provided the impetus to develop a new valve based on Shuttle operating specifications and on several criteria ensuring ignition resistance, proper performance, and fabrication economy. Several flow control devices and concepts were investigated, and the design incorporating a variable segmented orifice was considered most likely to meet the basic design parameters. This design was selected for further development, which resulted in a valve that met all established design parameters when tested under normal and worst-case conditions. These results confirm the position taken at the NASA White Sands Test Facility that components can be designed and fabricated to resist combustion caused by particle impact. Thus, adherence to general design parameters such as careful design of the gas flow path, appropriate selection of ignition-resistant materials, and configurational testing at worst-case operating conditions can ensure safe and reliable oxygen components.

Author Information

Christianson, RC
Plante, BA
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Developed by Committee: G04
Pages: 227–240
DOI: 10.1520/STP24930S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5095-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1288-9