Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT) will develop Thermal Control Valves (TCVs) for the following applications: 1. Loop Heat Pipes (LHPs) (On/Off), 2. Single Phase Pumped Loops (Proportional), and 3. Pumped Two Phase (P2P) Loops (Backpressure regulators). There is a clear need for advanced thermal control solutions that can support extended-duration science payloads on the lunar surface. Since the primary power source for near term Lunar surface science missions is a combination of solar photovoltaic arrays & batteries (note that each watt of power required through the lunar night requires ~5 kg of batteries), a thermal control system that rejects daytime heat efficiently & conserves energy through the night is essential to keep the payloads, batteries and other critical components at suitable temperatures. This proposed program will develop passive Thermal Control Valves, and test them with a low-cost, 3D-printed Loop Heat Pipe (LHP). Conventional LHPs provide very efficient heat transfer between electronics and spacecraft radiators when necessary but require 2-3 W of power continuously to shut down and minimize heat transfer (e.g. through the night), which can increase battery mass substantially if applied for the entire lunar night. The TCV requires no electrical power, passively shutting down the LHP and minimizing power needs and heat losses at night
By using 3D printing, ACT will develop TCVs integrated with the LHP evaporator (3D printed) and Compensation Chamber. The body of the TCV will be printed separately, probably in two sections. The TCV will then be welded to the tube through the evaporator end, and the rest of the compensation chamber will be fabricated around it.
In the Phase II program, ACT will develop TCVs for pumped single- and/or two-phase systems. 3D printing of the valve bodies will be examined, to both develop lower mass solutions, and integrate the valves with the cold plates.
Thermal Control Valves (TCVs) will be develop for: 1. LHPs, 2. Single-Phase Loops, and 3. P2P Loops. The Phase I program will develop On/Off TCVs for LHPs, since this technology is needed to provide Variable Thermal Links for Lunar Landers, Rovers, and Habitats. TCVs will be developed for pumped single phase loops for applications like manned spacecraft, Lunar and Martian Rovers, and the Europa Clipper. All of these applications can benefit from a passive TCV. Finally, satellite and Lunar Habits will benefit from a pumped two-phase loops.
An application for both NASA and non-NASA is inexpensive 3D printed LHPs with TCVs for SmallSats and CubeSats, which together provide a low-cost thermal management system. In contrast, currently available LHPs and TCVs can cost more than a University CubeSat. As satellite powers continue to increase, pumped two phase loops can provide superior cooling to pumped-single phase loops.