Heat Pipes with Self-Rewetting Fluids for Space Applications
Self-rewetting fluids, i.e. dilute aqueous alcoholic solutions with unique surface tension behavior, have been proposed as working fluids for terrestrial and space heat pipes. Experiments have been carried out in normal gravity and in low-gravity conditions with tubular heat pipes, thin flat heat pipes for thermal management in electronic devices, and flexible, inflatable and deployable radiator panels for space applications. Self-rewetting heat pipes exhibit, in general, better thermal performances in comparison with water heat pipes. Current developments are focused on self-rewetting brines, studied as candidate potential heat transfer fluids for space applications. Activities are in progress to perform experiments in space with a small technological payload onboard a microsatellite developed by the Italian Space Agency.