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Hybrid Manufacturing Process of Loop Heat Pipe Evaporator

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC23CA062
Agency Tracking Number: 221746
Amount: $899,982.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: S16
Solicitation Number: SBIR_22_P2
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-06-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2025-06-14
Small Business Information
1046 New Holland Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17601-5688
United States
DUNS: 126288336
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Yue Xiao
 (717) 205-0697
 yue.xiao@1-act.com
Business Contact
 William Anderson
Title: timguhl
Phone: (717) 205-0602
Email: Bill.Anderson@1-act.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract

Currently, to ensure the effective heat transfer of Loop Heat Pipes (LHPs), the Knife Edge Seal (KES) in the LHP evaporator is a key component that seals the primary wick and prevents high-pressure vapor from entering the lower-pressure interior of the evaporator and compensation chamber (CC).nbsp; However, the KES may be susceptible to failure after long-time exposure to thermal cycles and vibration.nbsp; Additionally, the KES insertion process is labor intensive and has an intrinsic risk that may increase the lead time and cost.nbsp;To address the challenge, Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT), in collaboration with FormAlloy, Inc., utilized Direct Energy Deposition (DED), an Additive Manufacturing (AM) technique, to eliminate the KES, improve the LHP reliability and performance, streamline the LHP manufacturing process, and further enable innovative LHP designs.nbsp;In the Phase I Program, we have successfully demonstrated using DED technology to deposit dense sealing layers on a testing specimen and thus eliminate the KES.nbsp; The DED seal improves the overall LHP reliability and performance while lowering the cost and the lead time. Further, we have successfully demonstrated the operation of a complete LHP with a DED-sealed evaporator.nbsp;The Phase II Program will optimize the DED process and further leverage the DED to the LHP fabrication process. Specifically, we will optimize the DED conditions including laser power, scanning paths, etc.nbsp; In addition, we will conduct reliability and lifetime tests for the DED-sealed parts.nbsp; ACT will also compare the performance of KES-sealed LHP with that of DED-sealed LHP.nbsp; Further, we will develop Functional Gradient Material (FGM) that transits from aluminum alloy to nickel to further streamline the LHP manufacturing process.nbsp; Finally, we will leverage the AM nature of the DED process to enable different CC and the evaporator body shape designs. By the end of Phase II, a complete hybrid manufactured LHP is one major deliverable to NASA.

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

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