1997-07-01

Testing of a Capillary Pumped Loop with Multiple Parallel Starter Pumps 972329

A capillary pumped loop (CPL) with a single starter pump in its evaporator section has been demonstrated to have very reliable start-ups and robust operation. In order to service payloads with large thermal footprints or to service multiple payloads, a CPL with multiple starter pumps seems a logical approach. However, questions were raised concerning its reliability for successful start-ups. In order to verify the feasibility of such a concept, a test program was conducted at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, using four starter pumps plumbed in parallel. The main purpose of this experimental investigation was to verify the system's ability to provide a successful start-up and to retain performance characteristics demonstrated by a CPL with multiple evaporators of the traditional two-port pump design. Tests were conducted progressively by installing one, two and four pumps in the test loop. Experimental results indicated that the loop operated very reliably after a successful start-up had been established. The system always started successfully when it contained only one or two starter pumps. However, some unsuccessful start-ups were encountered when four pumps were plumbed in parallel.

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