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Advanced Hot Reservoir Variable Conductance Heat Pipes for Planetary Landers

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC20C0023
Agency Tracking Number: 188702
Amount: $749,998.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T9
Solicitation Number: STTR_18_P2
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-12-19
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-12-18
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
 Kuan-Lin Lee
 (717) 205-0631
Business Contact
 Franklin Morales
Phone: (717) 205-0637
Research Institution
 Case Western Reserve University
10900 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106-0000
United States

 Federally funded R&D center (FFRDC)

NASArsquo;s plans to further expand human and robotic presence in space and planetary surface automatically involve significant thermal challenges. A hot reservoir variable conductance heat pipe (VCHP) that can provide much tighter passive thermal control capability is an ideal thermal management device for future planetary landers and rovers. Based on previous ISS test results, advanced fluid management features and strategies are the key to maximize hot reservoir VCHPrsquo;s reliability during long-term planetary exploration missions. In STTR Phase I, Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT) in collaboration with Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) performed a fundamental study to understand the complex fluid transport phenomena within a hot reservoir VCHP. A Loop Hot Reservoir VCHP (LHR-VCHP) concept was devised during the program. With the novel loop configuration, two mechanisms to induce a net transport flow for VCHP purging (i.e. removal of working fluid from the reservoir) were identified: (1) by momentum transfer from vapor to NCG through shearing (2) by filtering the pulses (via a Tesla/check valve) generated in the heat pipe section of VCHP loop. The existence of momentum transfer flow and its effectiveness on VCHP reservoir purging were demonstrated through modeling and experiment. In Phase II, ACT-CWRU team proposes to further mature the LHR-VCHP technology and demonstrate its reliability by maximizing the flow rate induced by the two mechanisms stated above. Phase II work plan will include systematic studies of both momentum transfer induced flow and pulses generation and filtering induced flow within a loop VCHP, development of fluid diodes for pulses filtration, design and optimization of LHR-VCHP prototypes based on the two mechanisms. At the end of the program, a prototype-flight LHR-VCHP for planetary landers and rovers thermal management will be developed based on the best solution that potentially could result from both mechanisms combined.

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

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