NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Thermal Control Technologies for Science Spacecraft
PROPOSAL TITLE:Pressure Controlled Heat Pipe for Precise Temperature Control

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc.
1046 New Holland Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17601-5688
(717) 295-6061

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Peter Dussinger M Dussinger
1046 New Holland Avenue
Lancaster, PA  17601-5688
(717) 295-6052

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This Small Business Innovation Research project will develop Pressure Controlled Heat Pipes (PCHPs) for precise temperature control (milli-Kelvin level). Several optical systems, lasers, and detectors require tight temperature control to better than +/-1K. Some new missions even desire temperature control and thermal gradient control to the milli-Kelvin level. Typically precision temperature control is achieved by cold biasing the device and using electrical trim heaters. Variable conductance heat pipes are also used; however, the control band is not precise enough without unusually large reservoir volumes. The pressure controlled heat pipe has the potential to achieve precise temperature control without energy wasting control heaters and without unfavorable mass and volume reservoirs. PCHPs are essentially actively controlled VCHPs. In a PCHP, the control system senses an increase (or decrease) in pressure and actively changes either the gas charge in the reservoir or the volume of the reservoir to maintain the operating temperature precisely at the set point. The Phase I program will prove the feasibility of the PCHP concept. A prototype heat pipe will be built and tested. In Phase II, the integration and implementation of various control strategies will be performed.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The NASA applications include pressure controlled heat pipes (PCHPs) for precise temperature set point and temperature control for sensitive optical systems, lasers, and detectors. The PCHP can be a direct replacement for traditional power wasting cold biasing with trim heaters technology. The PCHP can also replace VCHPs where more temperature control is desired. The PCHP may eliminate the often necessary need to change the desired orbit to modify the temperature extremes at the expense of the science mission.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The calibration industry is continuously looking for higher precision temperature control at lower costs. A very small number of high temperature PCHPs have been built and tested for this industry; however, one of the reasons for the calibration industry's hesitation to adopt this technology in a widespread manner is that the price to benefit ratio is too great. This is primarily because a set of sensors, controls, actuators, control algorithms, and predictive performance models do not exist. A commercial customer, who wants one device, is unwilling to fund the development work; and, the business risk is too great to develop the system with company profits. A successful Phase I and Phase II effort focused on precise spacecraft temperature control will be directly applicable to ACT's calibration products.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Control Instrumentation
Large Antennas and Telescopes

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19