Thermacore was recently selected by NASA Space Technology’s Game Changing Development Program to have one of its thermal management concepts evaluated for potential use in future spacecraft.

The development program released a solicitation to the nation to meet the difficult challenge of creating systems that reject high heat loads in a warm thermal environment, yet operate in a very cold environment, where maintenance is often difficult or impossible.

The proposed Thermacore technology is an improved variable- conductance heat pipe (VCHP) containing a novel working fluid that operates in a wide temperature range. The pipe uses a proprietary orifice disk (patent-pending) for fluid movement control. The new disk and working fluid allow the VCHP to operate effectively in a wider range of applications than standard heat pipes, including long-term spaceflight. The improved VCHP can also use standard working fluids, making it lighter and more cost-effective than conventional VCHPs used today.

The NASA Game Changing Development Program is a fourphase initiative. Phase I is designed to study the feasibility of the thermal management concepts involved. Once the concepts are approved for further development, future phases will involve benchtop testing, detailed drawings for a scaled-down model, and in Phase IV, fabrication of a prototype for testing. Completion of all four phases is expected to take approximately three years.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the December, 2013 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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