NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-2 X6.01-8889
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Fuel Cells for Surface Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Titanium Heat Pipe Thermal Plane

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Thermacore, Inc.
780 Eden Road
Lancaster, PA 17601 - 4275
(717) 569-6551

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Sergey Y Semenov
780 Eden Road
Lancaster, PA 17601 - 4275
(717) 519-3133

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 5 to 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The objective of the Phase II program is to complete the development of the titanium heat pipe thermal plane and establish all necessary steps for production of this heat pipe. The main aerospace application for this titanium heat pipe design is fuel cell thermal management. Electronics cooling is expected to be the largest commercial market for this technology.
The Phase I program was successfully completed five weeks sooner than deadline. All main technical objectives were met. Three thermal plane units were produced and thermally tested. One unit was shipped to NASA GRC and one unit is currently in a "burn-in" setup for Non-Condensable Gas (NCG) generation prevention. NCG generation still remains the most important issue to be resolved before heat pipe will be ready for production. Another limiting factor for wide commercial application of the titanium heat pipes is their high manufacturing cost. These issues will be addressed in the Phase II program.
The Phase II work effort is divided into eleven tasks: ten technical tasks plus one reporting task. The work involves reviewing requirements, thermal plane design, alternative materials development, design optimization, non-condensable gas abatement concluding with the fabrication test and delivery of several titanium thermal planes to NASA. All tasks will be accomplished at Thermacore, Inc. facility.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Passive Fuel Cell or Electrolysis Cell Heat Removal/ Thermal Control: Passive thermal control of individual cells within a fuel cell or electrolysis stack has the potential to eliminate actively pumped liquid coolant loops. A planar lightweight conductive heat pipe that is also electrically conductive is sought to passively remove the heat from the individual fuel cells or electrolysis cells within a cell stack.
Spacecraft onboard electronics cooling is another area for application of the developed planar titanium heat pipe. Modern electronic components are small in size and generate heat fluxes that cannot be handled by pure conduction or direct forced convection cooling technologies. Planar heat pipe can be integrated with a Print Circuit Board (PCB) allowing it to stay at near uniform temperature. As a result several components can be cooled utilizing a single cooling device located at the edge of the PCB.
Isothermal panels for heat radiation into space can be made using the same technology as well. High thermal conductivity and low effective density make these heat pipes applicable for RDU panels. Another important heat pipe advantage over the composite materials is CTE match with titanium round heat pipes.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
To support this "high end-technology to Commercialization" business model, Thermacore has been and remains active in research and technology development programs, supporting DARPA, NASA, DOD, DOE and NSF. Military/Aerospace applications drive advances in our technology. This technology eventually gets applied to Military/Aerospace applications. Thermacore in turn also uses these advances that they helped develop to benefit their OEM customers and their products thereby creating jobs and benefiting the U.S. economy. High volume manufacturing of these advanced products helps to drive down the price of the product, which in turn comes back and benefits the Military/Aerospace sector with reduced costs. Maintaining this cycle is important to the Military/Aerospace sector, to Thermacore, to the local economy and to the overall U.S. economy.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.


Form Generated on 08-03-09 13:26