In response to the FY 2022 NASA SBIR Solicitation Topic S06.15 Scope “Advanced Manufacturing of Loop Heat Pipe Evaporator”, Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT) and FormAlloy Technologies, Inc. (FormAlloy) propose to develop a hybrid manufacturing process for loop heat pipe (LHP) evaporator. Such a hybrid manufacturing process combines conventional sintering and additive manufacturing (AM) technology. The process can retain the ~1-micrometer pore size of the current primary wick while eliminating the knife-edge seal (KES) that may fail under long exposure to thermal cycles and vibrations. In Phase I, ACT and FormAlloy will continue the process optimization, and perform LHP operation demonstration with evaporators fabricated by the proposed hybrid process.
The potential applications for the proposed process are NASA missions and commercial space flights where high-performance and high-reliability LHPs are adopted. Specifically, Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), ICESat-2, Swift, Aura, Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R), Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT), and future Science Mission Directorate (SMD) missions can greatly benefit from the proposed technology.
The program is also applicable to all military and commercial satellites that use Loop Heat Pipes. In Other civil or military applications such as LED luminaire, solar water heaters, thermoelectric power generators, etc. can all benefit from LHP with improved reliability