In recent years, Argotec, a technology provider of passive thermal control systems based on the use of two phase systems, has carried out research and development, creating different passive thermal control systems in the aerospace and industrial field. Thanks to these starting skills, the 2-PHASE (Passive Heat exchange for Aerospace and Earth applications) project has been developed, with the help of the Piedmont Region, between Argotec, Thales Alenia Space and OPTEC.
In collaboration with Thales Alenia Space an innovative use of a Loop Heat Pipe (LHP) has been studied, built and tested. Thales identified a need to transport a large amount of heat from within the human rated pressurised section of the enhanced version of the Cygnus PCM (Pressurized Cargo Module). To meet the project requirements an LHP has been designed which transfers large heat fluxes over long distances within a wide operating temperature range using a low-toxicity working fluid. The LHP consists of a compact evaporator equipped with fan-assisted heat exchangers to extract heat from the pressured section of the spacecraft. Feed-throughs are used to pass the LHP vapour and liquid lines through the pressure shell. Either side of the feed through is equipped with disconnect-able hardware to allow for an easier integration of the internal and external parts of the LHP. The heat collected at the evaporator is then dissipated by means of a meandering tube mounted to an existing external structural panel.
A loop heat pipe has been constructed and tested, with representative interfaces, in a vacuum chamber located at Thales in Turin. The presentation will describe the LHP design, the test setup and initial results of the test campaign.