NASA 1996 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER : 96-1 04.06-7093

PROJECT TITLE : Lightweight Carbon-Carbon Spacecraft Radiator with Flexible Heat Pipes

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

Heat pipes are accepted technology on satellites for transferring waste heat to radiators due to their isothermal operation and excellent reliability. The innovation to be developed here is a flexible, impermeable, fabric heat pipe that will: 1) eliminate CTE problems between the heat pipe and the radiator and, 2) reduce the weight of the entire radiator. These two goals will be attained by the use of a flexible heat pipe that is fabricated out of strong, but lightweight, flexible materials. The heat-pipe container can be thought of as an impermeable liner, similar to an inner tube on a bicycle tire. The heat pipes can be used with carbon/carbon, Gr/Ep, or aluminum radiators. The flexible heat pipes will improve the structural efficiency of small satellites, manned platforms, and associated instrumentation subsystems. In Phase I, the feasibility of making a flexible heat pipe will be demonstrated, and issues such as material selection and compatibility will be resolved. In Phase II, a radiator test specimen will be designed, fabricated, and tested with flexible heat pipes. The heat-pipe radiator tests in Phase II will demonstrate the suitability of flexible heat pipes for spacecraft radiators to eliminate CTE problems and reduce weight.
POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
There are numerous commercial applications for flexible heat pipes. The first is in spacecraft radiators. Satellites of all kinds (communications, environmental monitoring, etc.) are a rapidly expanding industry. The development of flexible heat pipes opens up an entirely new market for heat pipes. Applications may include heat pipes for home temperature control and isothermal flexible heating pads for medical purposes.
NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
Dr. David E. Glass
Analytical Services & Materials, Inc.
107 Research Drive
Hampton, VA 23666
NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR
Analytical Services & Materials, Inc.
107 Research Drive
Hampton, VA 23666