The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Thermal Systems group (Kirtland AFB) develops and tests next-generation thermal control systems (TCS). Many of these systems rely on two-phase technologies that are gravity/orientation dependent. Examples include classic heat pipes, loop heat pipes, and oscillating heat pipes. There is a need within AFRL Thermal Systems to test these TCS at a variety of orientations with high-accuracy.
The primary objective of this project is the design, development, fabrication, and testing of a test frame (i.e. mounting frame, rotation mechanisms, and data acquisition) capable of precise orientation adjustments.
This project includes the design, development, and fabrication of a thermal-orientation testbed for use in both ambient and vacuum environments. The test bed will be used for testing TCS such as classic heat pipes and oscillating heat pipes (e.g. flat-plate) and will consist of the following primary components:
Mounting frame: The mounting frame will rigidly hold test articles and also thermally isolate test articles from parasitic heat loss/gain. Materials will be vacuum compatible; 80/20 hardware (8020.net) provides a good option. The mounting frame should be scalable to accommodate a wide-range of test article shapes/sizes.
Thermal sink: A thermal sink will be provided via a cold-plate connected via fluid paths to a refrigerated bath. The thermal-orientation testbed will include the capability to attach cold-plates of various sizes. Attachment will be thermally isolated from the mounting frame.
Thermal source: A heat source will be provided via patch heaters or equivalent connected to a DC power supply.
Rotation mechanisms: Electronically-controlled rotation mechanisms will provide accurate orientation of the test specimen about a primary and secondary axis. Orientation will be evaluated via measurement.
Data acquisition: A data acquisition system will be used to control rotation, monitor orientation, and monitor thermal performance.
AFRL: Thermal Orientation Test Bed Heat Pipe Week 7 UpdateNovember 17, 2015
AFRL: Thermal Orientation Test Bed Heat Pipe Week 6 UpdateNovember 9, 2015
AFRL: Thermal Orientation Test Bed Heat Pipe Week 5 UpdateNovember 1, 2015
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