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Research Papers

Near-Field Radiative Heat Exchange Analysis of a Spacecraft Waste Heat Converter Design

[+] Author and Article Information
Laurie Y. Carrillo

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science,  Rice University, MS-321, P.O. Box 1892,Houston, TX 77251lycarr@alumni.rice.edu

Yildiz Bayazitoglu1

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science,  Rice University, MS-321, P.O. Box 1892,Houston, TX 77251bayaz@rice.edu

1

Corresponding author.

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 4(2), 021001 (Apr 16, 2012) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4005731 History: Received January 16, 2011; Revised December 14, 2011; Published April 16, 2012; Online April 16, 2012

This paper presents a new design to convert spacecraft waste heat to electrical energy. The proposed device utilizes near-field radiative heat transfer incorporated with pyroelectric materials. To generate electricity, the pyroelectric materials are cyclically heated using spacecraft waste heat and cooled by the thermal environment of deep space (∼2.7 K). Near-field plane-to-plane radiative heat exchange within the device is calculated using a modified sphere-to-plane asymptotic approximation. This method is superimposed on multiple spheres to approximate a plane-to-plane environment. Silica and lithium fluoride coatings are considered in this study to maximize the near-field heat exchange. The efficiency of the device is 17% and 32% when compared to the Carnot cycle efficiency and the Curzon-Ahlborn efficiency, respectively. Initial results indicate that the device is promising but requires further development before it is manufactured for operational use. Suggestions for possible future developments to enhance the design are presented.

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Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

(a) Cooling configuration of spacecraft pyroelectric waste heat converter; (b) transition configuration of spacecraft pyroelectric waste heat converter; (c) heating configuration of spacecraft pyroelectric waste heat converter

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Figure 2

Schematic representation of individual disks

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Figure 3

Disks assembled in a sandwich configuration

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Figure 4

Schematic representation of plane-to-sphere near-field radiative heat transfer approximation

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Figure 5

Plane-to-plane configuration composed of multiple spheres and a plane

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Figure 6

Comparison of calculation methods

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Figure 7

Plane-to-plane near-field radiative heat transfer

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Figure 8

Near-field radiation for device configuration with two planes heating each side

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Figure 9

Near-field radiative heat transfer for the entire mounting apparatus

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Figure 10

Near-field radiative transfer for circular mounting apparatus

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