Ultra-Compact Heat Exchangers for Space-Borne Cryocoolers

Period of Performance: 01/01/2001 - 12/31/2001

$600K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Creare, Inc.
16 Great Hollow Road Array
Hanover, NH 03755
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

Low-temperature cryocooler systems need recuperative heat exchangers with extremely high-thermal effectiveness (0.997 or greater) to achieve cooling in the 10 K range. For space-borne cryocoolers for sensor cooling, these recuperators must also be compact, lightweight, and cause minimal pressure losses in the gas stream. To meet these challenging requirements, we propose to develop a radial flow heat exchanger (RFHX) fabricated from advanced materials. These advanced materials must have an optimal combination of thermal conductivity, strength, and formability to create a highly efficient RFHX recuperator. During Phase I, we will prove the feasibility of an ultra-high efficiency recuperator by (1) demonstrating key steps in the fabrication process using advanced materials, (2) producing a conceptual design of the RFHX, and (3) performing cryocooler system trade studies that demonstrate the performance benefits of advanced materials.