Direct Casting of Er-Alloys for High-performance Cryocooler Regenerators
Department of Defense
Missile Defense Agency
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Small Business Information
LBTC, Rm D-104 South Stadium Dr., Baton Rouge, LA, 70803
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AbstractThe goal of this program is to develop manufacturing technologies/methods that will allow for the fabrication of advanced regenerators made from erbium-based, intermetallic compounds for application in space-based cryocoolers. These regenerators, when used as a replacement for Pb-powder regenerators, will result in an increase in efficiency of cryocoolers by a factor of 3-4. When used as a replacement for Er-based powder regenerators for the 4°K cryocoolers, an increase in efficiency by factors of 10-20 can be expected. Thus, the Er-based micro-channel regenerators are expected to reduce power requirements as well as the overall size and weight of cryocoolers. In addition, the Er-alloys are harder than lead making them easier to handle, less prone to cold welding, and removing problems of toxicity. Mezzo initially evaluated three fabrication methods under this program: high aspect ratio LIGA molds being used to simultaneously electro discharge machine (EDM) tens of thousands of holes (LIGA-EDM), direct molding using LIGA molds, and molding using a binder/ErPr system followed by a burnout and sintering process. Tests carried out under this program have shown the feasibility of fabrication of high performance regenerators using various micromanufacturing methods. With further development, this program should lead to substantial improvements in cryocooler performance.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.