The European Space Agency partnered with The European Design Engineering team ofAavid, Thermal division of Boyd Corporation, for its INWIP project: Innovative Wickless HeatPipe Systems. The purpose of the project was to study the behaviour of a Wickless PulsatingHeat Pipe System in micro-gravity conditions. The extreme conditions and complexity of thetechnology.
-REXUS: A pulsating heat pipe system surrounded by metal foam and inserted intoa metal box filled with paraffin wax. The heat, carried by the vapour bullets, flowsinto the metal foam, melting the paraffin wax.
-ISS: A pulsating heat pipe system connected to 8 Peltier cells. The heat carried bythe vapour bullets warms one side of the Peltier cells and a liquid cold plate coolsthe other side.
In cooperation with the University of Pisa, Aavid designed and manufactured theprototypes for both parts of the project.
ROCKET REXUS 22: In March 2017, the prototype was launched from the Esrange SpaceCenter in Kiruna, North Sweden, aboard the rocket Rexus 22, to be tested in zero gravity. Therocket followed a parabolic trajectory up to an altitude of 90 km and fell to the ground.
ISS ZERO-GRAVITY PARABOLIC FLIGHT: The cooling system will be installed on a plane whichwill run along 32 parabolas on a future test flight. In correspondence to the peak of eachparabola, the force of gravity will be balanced by vertical traction, creating a transient stateof 22 seconds of micro-gravity. During this time, we will be able to monitor the behaviour ofthe pulsating heat pipe.
A goal of this research is to properly prepare for systematic experimentation on the ThermalPlatform1 (TP1) aboard the International Space Station and to investigate the performancesof cooling systems with ordinary and innovative working fluids.