Heat-Pipe Heat Transport System for Stirling Space Power Converter 929399
Life issues relating to a sodium-heat-pipe heat transport system are discussed. The heat-pipe system provides heat, at a temperature of 1050 K, to a 50-kWe Stirling engine/linear alternator power converter called the Stirling space power converter (SSPC). The converter is being developed under a National Aeronautics and Space Administration program. Because corrosion of heat-pipe materials in contact with sodium can affect the life of the heat pipe, a literature review of sodium corrosion processes was performed. It was found that impurity reactions, primarily oxygen, and dissolution of alloy elements were the two corrosion processes likely to be operative in the heat pipe. Approaches that are being taken to minimize these corrosion processes are discussed.