Browse Publications Technical Papers 2008-01-1959

Start-Up Characteristics and Gravity Effects on a Medium/High-Lift Heat Pump using Advanced Hybrid Loop Technology 2008-01-1959

Thermal characterization was performed on a vapor compression heat pump using a novel, hybrid two phase loop design. Previous work on this technology has demonstrated its ability to provide passive phase separation and flow control based on capillary action. This provides high quality vapor to the compressor without relying on gravity-based phase separation or other active devices. This paper describes the subsequent work done to characterize evaporator performance under various startup scenarios, tilt angles, and heat loads. The use of a thermal expansion valve as a method to regulate operation was investigated. The effect of past history of use on startup behavior was also studied.
Testing under various tilt angles showed evaporator performance to be affected by both adverse and favorable tilts for the given compressor. And depending on the distribution of liquid in the system upon startup, markedly different performance can result for the same system settings and heat loads. In this sense, the specific configuration and settings of the system are not mutually exclusive to a given performance. In general, four basic states of operation were identified which can result. It was also shown that active control of a thermal expansion valve may be used to recover from a non-optimal state.
Recommendations for future work include optimization of the evaporator port geometry and wick structure to better mitigate against detrimental effects of compressor suction. The compressor itself was identified as an area in need of technology development to better match compression ratios, suction pressure, and throughput to the specific mission requirements. It is recommended that future prototypes consider the use of an actively controlled thermal expansion valve to mitigate against off-nominal states of operation.


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