skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Design evolution and verification of the general-purpose heat source

Abstract

The General-Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) is a radioisotope heat source for use in space power systems. It employs a modular design, to make it adaptable to a wide range of energy conversion systems and power levels. Each 250 W module is completely autonomous, with its own passive safety provisions to prevent fuel release under all abort modes, including atmospheric reentry and earth impact. Prior development tests had demonstrated good impact survival as long as the iridium fuel capsules retained their ductility. This requires high impact temperatures, typically above 900/sup 0/C and reasonably fine grain size, which in turn requires avoidance of excessive operating temperatures and reentry temperatures. These three requirements - on operating, reentry, and impact temperatures - are in mutual conflict, since thermal design changes to improve any one of these temperatures tend to worsen one or both of the others. This conflict creates a difficult design problem, which for a time threatened the success of the program. The present paper describes how this problem was overcome by successive design revisions, supplemented by thermal analyses and confirmatory vibration and impact tests; and how this may be achieved while raising the specific power of the GPHS to 83 W/lb, amore » 50% improvement over previously flown radioisotope heat sources.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Fairchild Space and Electronics Co., Germantown, MD (USA)
OSTI Identifier:
5355852
Report Number(s):
DOE/ET/33021-T1
TRN: 80-012242
DOE Contract Number:
AC02-77ET33021
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
07 ISOTOPES AND RADIATION SOURCES; PLUTONIUM 238; RADIOISOTOPE HEAT SOURCES; DESIGN; MATERIALS; PERFORMANCE TESTING; SPACECRAFT POWER SUPPLIES; IMPACT SHOCK; MECHANICAL VIBRATIONS; REENTRY; SAFETY; SPACE FLIGHT; ACTINIDE ISOTOPES; ACTINIDE NUCLEI; ALPHA DECAY RADIOISOTOPES; ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT; EVEN-EVEN NUCLEI; HEAT SOURCES; HEAVY NUCLEI; ISOTOPES; NUCLEI; PLUTONIUM ISOTOPES; POWER SUPPLIES; RADIOISOTOPES; TESTING; YEARS LIVING RADIOISOTOPES; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems; 070300* - Isotopic Power Supplies

Citation Formats

Schock, A. Design evolution and verification of the general-purpose heat source. United States: N. p., 1980. Web. doi:10.2172/5355852.
Schock, A. Design evolution and verification of the general-purpose heat source. United States. doi:10.2172/5355852.
Schock, A. Tue . "Design evolution and verification of the general-purpose heat source". United States. doi:10.2172/5355852. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/5355852.
@article{osti_5355852,
title = {Design evolution and verification of the general-purpose heat source},
author = {Schock, A},
abstractNote = {The General-Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) is a radioisotope heat source for use in space power systems. It employs a modular design, to make it adaptable to a wide range of energy conversion systems and power levels. Each 250 W module is completely autonomous, with its own passive safety provisions to prevent fuel release under all abort modes, including atmospheric reentry and earth impact. Prior development tests had demonstrated good impact survival as long as the iridium fuel capsules retained their ductility. This requires high impact temperatures, typically above 900/sup 0/C and reasonably fine grain size, which in turn requires avoidance of excessive operating temperatures and reentry temperatures. These three requirements - on operating, reentry, and impact temperatures - are in mutual conflict, since thermal design changes to improve any one of these temperatures tend to worsen one or both of the others. This conflict creates a difficult design problem, which for a time threatened the success of the program. The present paper describes how this problem was overcome by successive design revisions, supplemented by thermal analyses and confirmatory vibration and impact tests; and how this may be achieved while raising the specific power of the GPHS to 83 W/lb, a 50% improvement over previously flown radioisotope heat sources.},
doi = {10.2172/5355852},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 1980},
month = {Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 1980}
}

Technical Report:

Save / Share: