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Experimental Development and Computational Optimization of Flat Heat Pipes for CubeSat Applications

[+] Author Affiliations
Steven A. Isaacs, Peter E. Hamlington

University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

Diego A. Arias

Roccor, LLC., Longmont, CO

Derek Hengeveld

LoadPath, Albuquerque, NM

Paper No. IMECE2016-67229, pp. V010T13A053; 11 pages
doi:10.1115/IMECE2016-67229
From:
  • ASME 2016 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 10: Micro- and Nano-Systems Engineering and Packaging
  • Phoenix, Arizona, USA, November 11–17, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5064-0
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME

abstract

Due to the compact and modular nature of CubeSats, thermal management has become a major bottleneck in system design and performance. In this study, we outline the development, initial testing, and modeling of a flat, conformable, lightweight, and efficient two-phase heat strap called FlexCool, currently being developed at Roccor1. Using acetone as the working fluid, the heat strap has an average effective thermal conductivity of 2,149 W/m-K, which is approximately four times greater than the thermal conductivity of pure copper. Moreover, the heat strap has a total thickness of only 0.86 mm and is able to withstand internal vapor pressures as high as 930 kPa, demonstrating the suitability of the heat strap for orbital environments where pressure differences can be large. A reduced-order, closed-form theoretical model has been developed in order to predict the maximum heat load achieved by the heat strap for different design and operating parameters. The model is validated using experimental measurements and is used here in combination with a genetic algorithm to optimize the design of the heat strap with respect to maximizing heat transport capability.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME

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