Zone of Influence of Porous Suction Tubes in Condensing Heat Exchanger for Space Systems 2008-01-2075
A “next generation” condensing heat exchanger for space systems has to satisfy demanding operational requirements under variable thermal and moisture loads and reduced gravity conditions. Mathematical models described here are used to investigate transient behavior of wetting and de-wetting dynamics in the binary porous system of porous tubes and porous cold plate. The model is based on the Richard's equation simplified for the zero-gravity conditions. The half-saturation distance or the zone of influence of the porous annular suction tubes on the cold-plate porous material will be in the range of 1 to 10 cm for the time scales ranging from 100 to 10,000 seconds and moisture diffusivity in the range of D = 10-4 to 10-6 m2/s. Spin-echo MRI experiments on horizontal thin-section porous Aquafoam™ samples demonstrated powerful ability of magnetic resonance to measure moisture transport, wetting fronts, and saturation distribution in simulated near zero-gravity conditions for opaque porous media.