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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.i1-4.580
pages 507-514

GROOVED AND SELF-VENTING ARTERIAL HEAT PIPES FOR SPACE FISSION POWER SYSTEMS

Kara L. Walker
Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc., 1046 New Holland Ave., Lancaster, PA 17601 U.S.A.
Calin Tarau
Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc., 1046 New Holland Ave., Lancaster, PA 17601 U.S.A.
William G. Anderson
Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc., 1046 New Holland Ave., Lancaster, PA 17601 U.S.A.

ABSTRACT

One design for a future space fission power system uses alkali metal heat pipes to transfer the reactor heat to a series of Stirling or thermoelectric converters for power generation. Artery de-priming by trapped vapor or non-condensable gas in an artery is a single point failure for traditional arterial heat pipes, which can be eliminated by using grooved or self-venting arterial heat pipe wicks. A self-venting arterial pipe has a screen artery that contains small venting pores in the evaporator section that allows any trapped vapor or non-condensable gas (NCG) to escape. A trade study found that the self-venting artery design had higher maximum transport and specific power, compared to arterial and grooved heat pipe designs for a given diameter. Two 1m-long, 1.91 cm O.D. sodium heat pipes were designed, fabricated, and tested; a self-venting arterial heat pipe and a grooved heat pipe. The self-venting arterial heat pipe is capable of carrying 2.6kW of power at adverse elevations of up to 7.62cm without drying out. The grooved heat pipe is capable of carrying 846W, 546W and 346W at adverse elevations of 0.25cm, 1.52cm, and 2.54cm, respectively.


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