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Heat Pipe Science and Technology, An International Journal

ISSN Print: 2151-7975
ISSN Online: 2151-7991

Archives: Volume 1, 2010 to Volume 8, 2017

Heat Pipe Science and Technology, An International Journal

DOI: 10.1615/HeatPipeScieTech.v5.i1-4.600
pages 521-529

MINI HEAT PIPES EXPERIMENTS UNDER MICROGRAVITY CONDITIONS. WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?

K. V. Paiva
Mechanical Engineer Department, Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Brazil
Marcia Barbosa Henriques Mantelli
Heat Pipe Laboratory (LABTUCAL), Federal University of Santa Catarina, Mechanical Engineering Department, 88040-900, Trindade, Florianopolis, SC, Brazil
J. P. M. Florez
Heat Pipe Laboratory (LABTUCAL), Federal University of Santa Catarina, Mechanical Engineering Department, 88040-900, Trindade, Florianopolis, SC, Brazil
G. G. V. Nuernberg
Heat Pipe Laboratory (LABTUCAL), Federal University of Santa Catarina, Mechanical Engineering Department, 88040-900, Trindade, Florianopolis, SC, Brazil

ABSTRACT

Heat pipe technologies have numerous applications under microgravity conditions in aerospace, from miniature devices in laptops used aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to heat transport system in satellites. Advances in understanding the behaviour of two-phase flow system under microgravity conditions could lead to higher efficiency devices and improved heat-exchanger design. In normal gravity, heat pipe can function properly without any kind of capillary structure (vertical position), or helped with a wick material in the horizontal position, allowing the return of the condensate from the condenser to the evaporator end. However gravitational acceleration could significantly alter the flow regime, masking some effects that are not presented under microgravity conditions. Since 2002, different types of mini heat pipes technologies have been studied systematically in our laboratory in normal gravity and some of them tested under two different microgravity environments: aboard sounding rockets and aboard ISS. Three experiments were conducted aboard sounding rockets and one aboard the ISS, where some requirements restrictions must have been respected, turning them quite different from conventional experiments conducted in laboratory. In this paper, all the mistakes and successes committed by our team in the microgravity experiments design will be presented. Besides, the comparison between the experimental tests under gravity and microgravity conditions obtained in our last flight, in December 12th of 2010, will be presented. In this experiment, mini heat pipes, spread heaters, pulsating heat pipe and also a PCM technology were tested. Some different geometries were tested as well. These heat pipes have been charged with acetone and methanol. The tests were evaluated in similar conditions permitting, in this way, the comparison among them, and also the verification of the effect on the heat transfer under micro and gravity conditions. The results have demonstrated that the heat pipes have a small thermal resistance and the PCM showed to be the convenient cooling device for the microgravity testing.


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