Browse Publications Technical Papers 01-17-01-0008

Determination of the Heat-Controlled Accumulator Volume for the Two-Phase Thermal Control Systems of Spacecraft 01-17-01-0008

This also appears in SAE International Journal of Aerospace-V133-1EJ

For spacecraft with high power consumption, it is reasonable to build the thermal control system based on a two-phase mechanically pumped loop. The heat-controlled accumulator is a key element of the two-phase mechanically pumped loop, which allows for the control of pressure in the loop and maintains the required level of coolant boiling temperature or cavitation margin at the pump inlet. There can be two critical modes of loop operation where the ability to control pressure will be lost. The first critical mode occurs when the accumulator fills with liquid at high heat loads. The second critical mode occurs when the accumulator is at low heat loads and partial loss of coolant, for example, due to the leak caused by micrometeorite breakdown. Both modes are caused by insufficient accumulator volume or working fluid charge. To analyze the loop characteristics in critical modes, experiments were conducted on a test bench with ammonia coolant, and a mathematical simulation of a two-phase mechanically pumped loop was performed. The results show that the loop can operate in critical modes in a certain range of heat loads. The conducted studies allow for the design of a heat-controlled accumulator with the minimum required volume, expand the performance range of a two-phase mechanically pumped loop, and increase the reliability of its operation in orbit during long-term missions.


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