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A Thermoacoustic Engine-Refrigerator System for a Space Exploration Mission

[+] Author Affiliations
Sudeep Sastry, Jaikrishnan R. Kadambi

Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

Mark P. Wernet, John M. Sankovic, David B. Ercegovic

National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH

Paper No. IMECE2010-38592, pp. 261-270; 10 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Energy Systems Analysis, Thermodynamics and Sustainability; NanoEngineering for Energy; Engineering to Address Climate Change, Parts A and B
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4429-8
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Unique cooling systems have to be designed to cool the electronic components of space exploration rover, especially in places like Venus, which has harsh surface conditions. The atmospheric pressure and temperature at the surface of Venus are 92 bars and 450°C respectively which make operation of electronic devices and sensors very difficult. Conventional cooling methods are currently deemed unfeasible due to the short life span of moving parts of the refrigerator systems at high temperatures. Furthermore, alternate energy sources such as solar power is not an option on Venus, since the cloud layer consisting of concentrated sulfuric acid droplets is thick and the surface reduces the solar intensity at the surface to about 2% of the intensity above the atmosphere. Therefore developing alternate method of power and cooling system is essential for Venus operation of any robotic rover. The advantages of using thermoacoustic systems are that there are no moving parts and they have efficiency comparable to conventional systems. Additionally there is a dearth in literature at using thermoacoustic refrigeration at high temperatures. This work discusses the development and optimization of a standing wave thermoacoustic engine refrigerator system to be used as a cooling device for the electronic components. The effects of various parameters such as gas mixture ratio, pressure, stack material etc. are discussed. The system designed provides cooling from 443K to 323K providing 150W of cooling.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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