SBIR 95-1 SOLICITATION
LOW WEIGHT, HIGH PERFORMANCE CRYOGENIC HEAT EXCHANGER
Spaceborne surveillance satellites require cryogenic cooling of infrared sensors. Turbomachinery-
based reverse-Brayton cryocooling is an ideal candidate to provide this cooling because of its high
reliability, long life, and negligible vibration. To operate within available power constraints, reverse-
Brayton coolers need heat exchangers with effectiveness greater than 99%. Creare has developed such
a heat exchanger and integrated it into a successful cryocooler system.
We propose an innovative heat exchanger concept that has the potential to meet the same performance
requirements while reducing weight of this component by a factor of 3 or more. The new heat
exchanger is fabricated from silicon wafers using silicon micromachining technology. This approach
has several key advantages: (1) it is a simple extension of proven heat exchanger technology; (2) the
low density of silicon results in a substantial weight reduction; and (3) the required micromachining
methods have already been well developed by the semiconductor industry, promising to significantly
reduce the cost of fabrication.
In Phase I, we will demonstrate the feasibility of the key manufacturing steps of the silicon-based heat
exchanger. In Phase II, we will build a full-scale heat exchanger optimized for a suitable application of
Potential Commercial Applications:
The proposed heat exchanger will reduce the cost and lower the weight of reverse-Brayton cryocoolers.
Potential applications exist for earth-bound as well as spaceborne needs for cryogenic cooling. These
include communication satellites, cryopumping, magnetic resonance imaging systems, cryosurgery,
cryocooled computer systems, and small-scale superconducting energy storage, and ultra-high speed
Name and Address of Offeror:
P.O. Box 71
Hanover NH 03755-0071
Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) &
Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) Programs
Electronic Management System (EMS)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
The SBIR/STTR EMS site is maintained by Steve
Hu, Hughes STX.
For comments and questions, contact
Updated: Feb. 7, 1996