High conductance loop heat pipes for space application

  • Semenov S
  • Cho W
  • Jensen S
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Abstract

Three high conductance Loop Heat Pipes (LHPs) for the Geostationary Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer (GIFTS) were designed, fabricated and thermal vacuum tested. One LHP with ammonia working fluid was designed for heat removal from a cryocooler cold head. Two ethane LHPs were designed to reject heat from the aft and fore optics to space. Thermal performance tests were performed in a vacuum chamber with attached masses simulating actual components. Thermal tests were also conducted on the bench and in an environmental chamber. The following features of the GIFTS LHPs were observed: (a) reliable startup and steady state operation with conductance as high as 83W/°C at various temperatures; (b) precision temperature control using compensation chamber heater during thermal cycling. Heat input power and condenser temperatures were varied periodically, while evaporator was maintained at a constant temperature. Temperature of the evaporator heat input surface fluctuated only by a fraction of a degree; (c) in addition there was no thermal performance degradation after 16 month of storage. The LHPs are installed on the instrument and waiting for a launch platform. © 2006 American Institute of Physics.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Ammonia
  • Ethane
  • Loop heat pipe
  • Temperature control
  • Thermoregulation
  • Two-phase

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Authors

  • Sergey Y. Semenov

  • Wei L. Cho

  • Scott M. Jensen

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