An Ultra-Lightweight, High Performance Carbon-Carbon Space Radiator
As one of two key parts of heat rejection systems in power conversion technologies for solar or nuclear electric propulsion, radiators reject the waste thermal energy generated in the power conversion process to space. An advanced radiator should provide high thermal rejection performance with minimum mass while satisfying the structure requirements. Traditional metal based radiators and single phase pumped heat transport loops are inadequate for emerging demands in near and far term space explorations; metal based radiators usually are over 8 10kg/m2. Carbon-Carbon (C-C) composite materials are ideal candidates to solve the above challenges in new generation space radiators because of their series of advantages, such as very low density, high thermal conductivity, good mechanical properties, high flexibility and variability in properties by material construction et al. In combination with heat pipes, two-phase Capillary Pumped Loops (CPL) and Loop Heat Pipes (LHP) or other two-phase heat transport loops, overall thermal performance and reliability of the space radiators can be significantly improved and realized by reducing radiator mass, which is a big portion of overall spacecraft mass. Hence, we propose to research and develop advanced high temperature C-C radiators for space solar or nuclear power conversion and other space systems.
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