High Efficiency, High Temperature Foam Core Heat Exchanger for Fission Surface Power Systems

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX08CB68P
Agency Tracking Number: 075501
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: 2007
Solicitation Topic Code: X8.03
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
12173 Montague Street, Pacoima, CA, 91331-2210
DUNS: 052405867
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Brian Williams
 Principal Investigator
 (818) 899-0236
Business Contact
 Craig Ward
Title: Engineering Administrative Mgr
Phone: (818) 899-0236
Email: craig.ward@ultramet.com
Research Institution
Fission-based power systems are anticipated for various planetary surface human base applications with power levels of 30–100+ kWe. The development of high temperature, high efficiency heat exchangers, turbines, and pumps is critical for next-generation nuclear power and space propulsion systems. High temperature heat exchangers are required for nuclear reactors to operate above 1000 K and take advantage of improved Brayton cycle efficiency at high inlet temperatures. In previous work for the Department of Energy involving fusion reactor components, Ultramet demonstrated the capability of an innovative heat exchanger composed of a highly porous, open-cell refractory metal foam coolant channel enclosed within a solid refractory metal shell of the same material. High heat flux testing with helium coolant was performed at the Sandia National Laboratories Plasma Materials Test Facility. A component survived heat flux levels up to 22.36 MW/m2 (2236 W/cm2). The turbulence created by flowing helium coolant through highly porous open-cell foam dramatically increased heat transfer relative to a conventional open coolant channel. Foam core heat exchanger technology is anticipated to substantially improve power conversion efficiency of liquid metal-to-gas, high temperature heat exchangers for fission surface power systems. Ultramet proposes to team with Sandia to design a component and demonstrate initial feasibility.

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

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