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Consolidation of Heat Pipes within a U-8Mo Core for High Efficiency and Long-Term Reliability

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC21C0007
Agency Tracking Number: 206905
Amount: $3,588,755.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: H8
Solicitation Number: SBIR_20_P2S
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-12-22
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-12-21
Small Business Information
1051 Serpentine Lane, Suite 100
Pleasanton, CA 94566-8451
United States
DUNS: 963306857
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Robert Hardesty
 (925) 461-6800
Business Contact
 James Hibbs
Phone: (228) 813-6209
Research Institution

A key requirement for high efficiency and the long-term reliability of Fission Power Systems (FPS) is the embedment and metallurgical connection of the heat pipes within the radioactive core material. Creating intimate contact between the heat pipes and the core material with a high thermal conductivity joint enables FPSs to operate at their optimum performance. This proposed Phase II Sequential Effort will advance NASArsquo;s Moon to Mars objectives by facilitating the rapid infusion of this consolidation and joining technology into NASArsquo;s FPSs, particularly for manned lunar missions by improving and optimizing the exchange of thermal energy at the heat pipe to the core interface. This Sequential effort is timely for infusion into upcoming designs for lunar missions; and that success then will be leveraged for Mars missions.nbsp;Peregrine Falcon Corporation (Peregrine) utilizing our proprietary technology in Liquid Interface Diffusion (LID) bonding will create a solid state joint between the Heat Pipe Wall material and the uranium core material of FPSs. LID bonding relies upon pressure and time at elevated temperatures to depress the melt point of an intermediate material to create incipient melting to initiate metallurgical joining. In this development, force is used to consolidate the heat pipe/core assembly to drive out any gaps and/or voids within the contained assembly and just as important develops pressure across the heat pipe to core interface.nbsp; Temperatures, durations and pressures have been selected and verified in Phase I and II to create a solid state joint resulting in a high thermal conductivity connection at the heat pipe to core interface. This allows FPSs to operate at their peak performance.nbsp;nbsp; nbsp;

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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