Metal Hydride Thermal Management Techniques for Future Spacecraft and
Project Title:Metal Hydride Thermal Management Techniques for Future Spacecraft and
Company:Hydrogen Consultants Inc
Denver, CO 80210
Principal Investigator:Franklin E. Lynch
Metal hydrides are uniquely controllable phase-change materials with the potential
to control and use heat in future space thermal energy control systems. Hydrides
manipulate heat while chemically absorbing and desorbing hydrogren over a broad range
of temperatures. The phase-changes are controllable by valving the flow of hydrogen,
from one hydride to another, regardless of temperature. The unusal capabilites of
hydride heat pumps, refrigerators and thermal storage devices, result from the ability
of the gas phase, hydrogen, to "vaporize" in one hydride container and "condense"
in another, at vastly different temperatures, without the need for a compressor.
This permits novel heat collection, transfer, storage and rejection strategies that
are not feasible with other phase-change materials. Extremely high thermal energy
densities can be achieved, especially in high temperature thermal storage devices.
Intermittant heat loads can also utilize the unique properties of metal hydrides
for utlra-compact heat pipes that collect and buffer peak heat loads. This proposal
offers a detailed examination of metal hydride alternatives for future space therman
managment systems. The results of the effort would be preliminary designs with estimates
of mass, volume and power requirements, for comparison to alternative concepts.