Compact Lightweight Cryogenic Cooling for HTS Antennas

Period of Performance: 09/25/1998 - 03/25/1999

$600K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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

Research Topics

Abstract

The objective of this project is to improve the performance of GPS receiver systems on naval aircraft by enabling the use of high-temperature superconducting (HTS) antennas. The approach is to develop a reliable compact, lightweight efficient and rapid-cooling cryogenic refrigeration system that meets NAWC specifications. The innovations are: (1) an integral heat exchanger (IHX) that efficiently cools the HTS substrate and (2) a compact, oil-free diaphragm compressor that drives a closed-cycle J-T cryocooler. The IHX is an HTS substrate with internal cooling channels for rapid, uniform cooling. The compressor drives a highly efficient closed-cycle Joule-Thompson cryocooler that pumps refrigerant gas through the HTS substrates. The Phase II project will entail three major efforts. First, we will scale up the fabrication techniques demonstrated in Phase I to produce a full-size prototypical IHX. Second, we will develop a compact, lightweight cryocooler (compressor, J-T throttle valve, recuperator, and insulation) to provide cryogenic coolant to the IHX. Third, we will demonstrate operation of the cryocooler and IHX by test under prototypical conditions. At the conclusion of Phase II, we will deliver hardware for cryogenic testing in the antenna chamber at NAWC/China Lake.