Abstract This paper is concerned with the design, development and performance testing of a cryogenic system for use in high cooling power instruments for ground-based environmental testing. The system provides a powerful tool for a combined environmental test that consists of high pressure and cryogenic temperatures. Typical cryogenic conditions are liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LO2), which are used in many fields. The cooling energy of liquid nitrogen (LN2) and liquid helium (LHe) is transferred to the specimen by a closed loop of helium cycle. In order to minimize the consumption of the LHe, the optimal design of heat recovery exchangers has been used in the system. The behavior of the system is discussed based on experimental data of temperature and pressure. The results show that the temperature range from room temperature to LN2 temperature can be achieved by using LN2, the pressurization process is stable and the high test pressure is maintained. Lower temperatures, below 77 K, can also be obtained with LHe cooling, the typical cooling time is 40 min from 90 K to 22 K. Stable temperatures of 22 K at the inlet of the specimen have been observed, and the system in this work can deliver to the load a cooling power of several hundred watts at a pressure of 0.58 MPa.
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