1993-07-01

Flow Visualization within a Capillary Evaporator 932236

A Capillary Pumped Loop (CPL) is an advanced two-phase heat transport device which utilizes capillary forces developed within porous wicks to move a working fluid. The advantage this system has over conventional thermal management systems is its ability to transfer large heat loads over long distances at a controlled temperature. Extensive ground testing and two flight experiments have been performed over the past decade which have demonstrated the potential of the CPL as a reliable and versatile thermal control system for space applications. While the performance of CPL's as “black boxes” is now well understood, the internal thermo-fluid dynamics in a CPL are poorly known due to the difficulty of taking internal measurements. In order to visualize transient thermohydraulic processes occurring inside an evaporator, a see-through capillary evaporator was built and tested at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Visual results from the testing have clarified several phenomena that could only be resolved by examining the inside of the evaporator during operation.

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