PROPOSAL NUMBER 00-1 10.06-8539 (Chron: 001462 )
Ultra-Lightweight Magnesium Heat Pipes for Spacecraft Thermal Management

Magnesium heat pipes are proposed for development to replace aluminum heat pipes as the standard for spacecraft heat rejection at near ambient temperatures. Recent developments have demonstrated the potential for special magnesium alloys to be compatible with the same working fluids as aluminum, but offer a 35% reduction in mass for similar applications. A magnesium heat pipe could potentially be extruded, bent, welded, and machined by conventional methods.

Phase I work will establish working fluid compatibility and demonstrate the capability to fabricate magnesium heat pipes in representative geometry. Heat pipes will be built and tested using a minimum of two representative working fluids. Phase II work will further develop these concepts into axially grooved extruded heat pipes and loop heat pipes for deployable radiators, and a space flight demonstration for Phase II prototypes is proposed.

Commercial applications exist for both spacecraft thermal control and terrestrial commercial heat pipe heat sinks. If successful, this program will lay the foundation for replacement of spacecraft aluminum grooved heat pipes by magnesium, and will be well received by telecommunications and laptop computer markets where low weight is sought. The current technology aluminum ammonia axially grooved heat pipes can potentially be replaced by magnesium/ammonia designs weighing 35% less that perform the same function. Deployable loop heat pipes can potentially use magnesium instead of heavier steel and aluminum for their construction. The market size for these spacecraft devices currently exceeds $10,000,000 per year.

The commercial markets for low-mass heat pipe assemblies is estimated to exceed $100,000,000 per year. This program, if successful, would create a significantly improved product for markets where the competition consists principally of Asian and European suppliers. A low mass, low-cost heat pipe capability would enable Thermacore to claim a dominant market share in these markets.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
John H. Rosenfeld
Thermacore, Inc.
780 Eden Road
Lancaster , PA   17604 - 3243

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Thermacore, Inc.
780 Eden Road
Lancaster , PA   17604 - 3243