Thermal Performance Evaluation of a Small Loop Heat Pipe for Space Applications
A Small Loop Heat Pipe (SLHP) featuring a wick of only 1.27 cm (0.5 inches) in diameter has been designed for use in spacecraft thermal control. It has several features to accommodate a wide range of environmental conditions in both operating and non-operating states. These include flexible transport lines to facilitate hardware integration, a radiator capable of sustaining over 100 freeze-thaw cycles using ammonia as a working fluid and a structural integrity to sustain acceleration loads up to 30 g. The small LHP has a maximum heat transport capacity of 120 Watts with thermal conductance ranging from 17 to 21 W/°C. The design incorporates heaters on the compensation chamber to modulate the heat transport from full-on to full-stop conditions. A set of start up heaters are attached to the evaporator body using a specially designed fin to assist the LHP in starting up when it is connected to a large thermal mass.