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Title: High Temperature Water Heat Pipes Radiator for a Brayton Space Reactor Power System

Abstract

A high temperature water heat pipes radiator design is developed for a space power system with a sectored gas-cooled reactor and three Closed Brayton Cycle (CBC) engines, for avoidance of single point failures in reactor cooling and energy conversion and rejection. The CBC engines operate at turbine inlet and exit temperatures of 1144 K and 952 K. They have a net efficiency of 19.4% and each provides 30.5 kWe of net electrical power to the load. A He-Xe gas mixture serves as the turbine working fluid and cools the reactor core, entering at 904 K and exiting at 1149 K. Each CBC loop is coupled to a reactor sector, which is neutronically and thermally coupled, but hydraulically decoupled to the other two sectors, and to a NaK-78 secondary loop with two water heat pipes radiator panels. The segmented panels each consist of a forward fixed segment and two rear deployable segments, operating hydraulically in parallel. The deployed radiator has an effective surface area of 203 m2, and when the rear segments are folded, the stowed power system fits in the launch bay of the DELTA-IV Heavy launch vehicle. For enhanced reliability, the water heat pipes operate below 50% of theirmore » wicking limit; the sonic limit is not a concern because of the water, high vapor pressure at the temperatures of interest (384 - 491 K). The rejected power by the radiator peaks when the ratio of the lengths of evaporator sections of the longest and shortest heat pipes is the same as that of the major and minor widths of the segments. The shortest and hottest heat pipes in the rear segments operate at 491 K and 2.24 MPa, and each rejects 154 W. The longest heat pipes operate cooler (427 K and 0.52 MPa) and because they are 69% longer, reject more power (200 W each). The longest and hottest heat pipes in the forward segments reject the largest power (320 W each) while operating at {approx} 46% of capillary limit. The vapor temperature and pressure in these heat pipes are 485 K and 1.97 MPa. By contrast, the shortest water heat pipes in the forward segments operate much cooler (427 K and 0.52 MPa), and reject a much lower power of 45 W each. The radiator with six fixed and 12 rear deployable segments rejects a total of 324 kWth, weights 994 kg and has an average specific power of 326 Wth/kg and a specific mass of 5.88 kg/m2.« less

Authors:
;  [1];  [2]
  1. Institute for Space and Nuclear Power Studies, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131 (United States)
  2. (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
20798013
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: AIP Conference Proceedings; Journal Volume: 813; Journal Issue: 1; Conference: 10. conference on thermophysics applications in microgravity; 23. symposium on space nuclear power and propulsion; 4. conference on human/robotic technology and the national vision for space exploration; 4. symposium on space colonization; 3. symposium on new frontiers and future concepts, Albuquerque, NM (United States), 12-16 Feb 2006; Other Information: DOI: 10.1063/1.2169253; (c) 2006 American Institute of Physics; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; BRAYTON CYCLE; BRAYTON CYCLE POWER SYSTEMS; COOLING; EFFICIENCY; ENERGY CONVERSION; GAS COOLED REACTORS; HEAT PIPES; POTASSIUM ALLOYS; POWER GENERATION; RADIATORS; REACTOR CORES; SODIUM ALLOYS; SPACE; SPACE VEHICLES; SURFACE AREA; TURBINES; VAPOR PRESSURE; WATER; WORKING FLUIDS; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems

Citation Formats

El-Genk, Mohamed S., Tournier, Jean-Michel, and Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Department, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131. High Temperature Water Heat Pipes Radiator for a Brayton Space Reactor Power System. United States: N. p., 2006. Web. doi:10.1063/1.2169253.
El-Genk, Mohamed S., Tournier, Jean-Michel, & Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Department, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131. High Temperature Water Heat Pipes Radiator for a Brayton Space Reactor Power System. United States. doi:10.1063/1.2169253.
El-Genk, Mohamed S., Tournier, Jean-Michel, and Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Department, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131. Fri . "High Temperature Water Heat Pipes Radiator for a Brayton Space Reactor Power System". United States. doi:10.1063/1.2169253.
@article{osti_20798013,
title = {High Temperature Water Heat Pipes Radiator for a Brayton Space Reactor Power System},
author = {El-Genk, Mohamed S. and Tournier, Jean-Michel and Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Department, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131},
abstractNote = {A high temperature water heat pipes radiator design is developed for a space power system with a sectored gas-cooled reactor and three Closed Brayton Cycle (CBC) engines, for avoidance of single point failures in reactor cooling and energy conversion and rejection. The CBC engines operate at turbine inlet and exit temperatures of 1144 K and 952 K. They have a net efficiency of 19.4% and each provides 30.5 kWe of net electrical power to the load. A He-Xe gas mixture serves as the turbine working fluid and cools the reactor core, entering at 904 K and exiting at 1149 K. Each CBC loop is coupled to a reactor sector, which is neutronically and thermally coupled, but hydraulically decoupled to the other two sectors, and to a NaK-78 secondary loop with two water heat pipes radiator panels. The segmented panels each consist of a forward fixed segment and two rear deployable segments, operating hydraulically in parallel. The deployed radiator has an effective surface area of 203 m2, and when the rear segments are folded, the stowed power system fits in the launch bay of the DELTA-IV Heavy launch vehicle. For enhanced reliability, the water heat pipes operate below 50% of their wicking limit; the sonic limit is not a concern because of the water, high vapor pressure at the temperatures of interest (384 - 491 K). The rejected power by the radiator peaks when the ratio of the lengths of evaporator sections of the longest and shortest heat pipes is the same as that of the major and minor widths of the segments. The shortest and hottest heat pipes in the rear segments operate at 491 K and 2.24 MPa, and each rejects 154 W. The longest heat pipes operate cooler (427 K and 0.52 MPa) and because they are 69% longer, reject more power (200 W each). The longest and hottest heat pipes in the forward segments reject the largest power (320 W each) while operating at {approx} 46% of capillary limit. The vapor temperature and pressure in these heat pipes are 485 K and 1.97 MPa. By contrast, the shortest water heat pipes in the forward segments operate much cooler (427 K and 0.52 MPa), and reject a much lower power of 45 W each. The radiator with six fixed and 12 rear deployable segments rejects a total of 324 kWth, weights 994 kg and has an average specific power of 326 Wth/kg and a specific mass of 5.88 kg/m2.},
doi = {10.1063/1.2169253},
journal = {AIP Conference Proceedings},
number = 1,
volume = 813,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Jan 20 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Fri Jan 20 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}
  • A detailed design and performance results of C-C finned, and armored potassium heat pipes radiator for a 110 kWe Heat Pipes-Segmented Thermoelectric Module Converters (HP-STMCs) Space Reactor Power system (SRPS) are presented. The radiator consists of two sections; each serves an equal number of STMCs and has 162 longitudinal potassium heat pipes with 0.508 mm thick C-C fins. The width of the C-C fins at the minor diameter of the radiator is almost zero, but increases with distance along the radiator to reach 3.7 cm at the radiator's major diameter. The radiator's heat pipes (OD = 2.42 cm in frontmore » and 3.03 cm in rear) have thin titanium (0.0762 mm thick) liners and wicks (0.20 mm thick with an effective pore radius of 12-16 {mu}m) and a 1.016 mm thick C-C wall. The wick is separated from the titanium liner by a 0.4 mm annulus filled with liquid potassium to increase the capillary limit. The outer surfaces of the heat pipes in the front and rear sections of the radiator are protected with a C-C armor that is 2.17 mm and 1.70 mm thick, respectively. The inside surface of the heat pipes in the front radiator is thermally insulated while the C-C finned condensers of the rear heat pipes are exposed, radiating into space through the rear opening of the radiator cavity. The heat pipes in both the front and the rear radiators have a 1.5 m long evaporator section and each dissipates 4.47 kW while operating at 43.6% of the prevailing sonic limit. The front and rear radiator sections are 5.29 m and 2.61 m long with outer surface area and mass of 47.1 m2 and 314.3 kg, and 39.9 m2 and 243.2 kg, respectively. The total radiator is 7.63 m long and has minor and major diameters of 1.48 m and 5.57 m, respectively, and a total surface area of 87 m2; however, the effective radiator area, after accounting for heat rejection through the rear of the radiator cavity, is 98.8 m2. The radiator's total mass including the C-C armor is 557.5 kg and the specific area and specific mass are 6.41 kg/m2 and 5.07 kg/kWe, respectively.« less
  • Technologies for Space Reactor Power Systems are being developed to enable future NASA's missions early next decade to explore the farthest planets in the solar system. The choices of the energy conversion technology for these power systems require radiator temperatures that span a wide range, from 350 K to 800 K. Heat pipes with carbon-carbon fins and armor are the preferred choice for these radiators because of inherent redundancy and efficient spreading and rejection of waste heat into space at a relatively small mass penalty. The performance results and specific masses of radiator heat pipes with cesium, rubidium, and potassiummore » working fluids are presented and compared in this paper. The heat pipes operate at 40% of the prevailing operation limit (a design margin of 60%), typically the sonic and/or capillary limit. The thickness of the carbon-carbon fins is 0.5 mm but the width is varied, and the evaporator and condenser sections are 0.15 and 1.35 m long, respectively. The 400-mesh wick and the heat pipe thin metal wall are titanium, and the carbon-carbon armor ({approx} 2 mm-thick) provides both structural strength and protection against meteoroids impacts. The cross-section area of the D-shaped radiator heat pipes is optimized for minimum mass. Because of the low vapor pressure of potassium and its very high Figure-Of-Merit (FOM), radiator potassium heat pipes are the best performers at temperatures above 800 K, where the sonic limit is no longer an issue. On the other hand, rubidium heat pipes are limited by the sonic limit below 762 K and by the capillary limit at higher temperature. The transition temperature between these two limits for the cesium heat pipes occurs at a lower temperature of 724 K, since cesium has lower FOM than rubidium. The present results show that with a design margin of 60%, the cesium heat pipes radiator is best at 680-720 K, the rubidium heat pipes radiator is best at 720-800 K, while the potassium heat pipes radiator is the best performer and lightest at higher temperatures {>=} 800 K.« less
  • Design and performance analysis of the nuclear reactor's lithium heat pipes for a 110-kWe Heat Pipes-Segmented Thermoelectric Module Converters (HP-STMCs) Space Reactor Power system (SRPS) are presented. The evaporator length of the heat pipes is the same as the active core height (0.45 m) and the C-C finned condenser is of the same length as the STMC panels (1.5 m). The C-C finned condenser section is radiatively coupled to the collector shoes of the STMCs placed on both sides. The lengths of the adiabatic section, the values of the power throughput and the evaporator wall temperature depend on the radialmore » location of the heat pipe in the reactor core and the number and dimensions of the potassium heat pipes in the heat rejection radiator. The reactor heat pipes have a total length that varies from 7.57 to 7.73 m, and a 0.2 mm thick Mo-14%Re wick with an average pore radius of 12 {mu}m. The wick is separated from the Mo-14%Re wall by a 0.5 mm annulus filled with liquid lithium, to raise the prevailing capillary limit. The nominal evaporator (or reactor) temperature varies from 1513 to 1591 K and the thermal power of the reactor is 1.6 MW, which averages 12.7 kW for each of the 126 reactor heat pipes. The power throughput per heat pipe increase to a nominal 15.24 kW at the location of the peak power in the core and to 20.31 kW when an adjacent heat pipe fails. The prevailing capillary limit of the reactor heat pipes is 28.3 kW, providing a design margin {>=} 28%.« less
  • Reactor dynamics and system stability studies are performed on a conceptual burst-mode gaseous core reactor space nuclear power system. This concept operates on a closed Brayton cycle in the burst mode (on the order of 100-MW output for a few thousand seconds) using a disk magnetohydrodynamic generator for energy conversion. The fuel is a gaseous mixture of UF[sub 4] or UF[sub 6] and helium. Nonlinear dynamic analysis is performed using circulating-fuel, point-reactor-kinetics equations along with thermodynamic, lumped-parameter heat transfer and one-dimensional isentropic flow equations. The gaseous nature of the fuel plus the fact that the fuel is circulating lead tomore » dynamic behavior that is quite different from that of conventional solid-core systems. For the transients examined, Doppler fuel temperature and moderator temperature feedbacks are insignificant when compared with reactivity feedback associated with fuel gas density variations. The gaseous fuel density power coefficient of reactivity is capable of rapidly stabilizing the system, within a few seconds, even when large positive reactivity insertions are imposed; however, because of the strength of this feedback, standard external reactivity insertions alone are inadequate to bring about significant power level changes during normal reactor operation. Additional methods of reactivity control, such as changes in the gaseous of fuel mass flow rate or core inlet pressure, are required to achieve desired power level control. Finally, linear stability analysis gives results that are qualitatively in agreement with the nonlinear analysis.« less
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