24/7 Space News
Investigation onboard ISS seeks new insights into cooling technology for electronics
file illustration
Investigation onboard ISS seeks new insights into cooling technology for electronics
by Staff Writers
Wallops Flight Facility VA (SPX) Aug 30, 2023

What if microgravity holds the key to preventing the overheating of advanced electronics? That's one idea behind an International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory-sponsored investigation that recently launched to station on Northrop Grumman's 19th Commercial Resupply Services mission (NG-19). This week, the ISS crew is working on the experiment, which aims to improve the efficiency of heat transfer devices used in various technologies, from laptops to NASA's Hubble Telescope.

Heat pipes rely on the complex interplay between the vapor and liquid phases within a sealed system, a dynamic that can strongly affect their performance. Building on previous research on the space station, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), with support from ISS National Lab Implementation Partner Tec-Masters, Inc., are leveraging microgravity to better understand the vapor-liquid interfaces of organic mixtures used in heat pipes, which could lead to their improved efficiency.

The investigation, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), could unlock discoveries that pave the way for innovation in several fields, including energy, manufacturing, and space exploration. Heat pipes play a vital role in cooling electronic devices, but their uses don't end there. They are also used in satellites and even Mars rovers.

"As electronic devices continue to shrink in size while simultaneously generating more power, and technologies for long-term space missions require the utmost reliability and minimal maintenance, efficient cooling becomes paramount to prevent overheating and ensure optimal performance," said project leader Joel Plawsky, a professor of chemical engineering at RPI. "Conducting this experiment on the space station allows us to eliminate the influence of gravity and study vapor-liquid interfaces of organic mixtures used in heat pipes in an entirely new light."

The findings could impact multiple disciplines and drive technological advancements across various sectors. Heat pipes use fluid to transfer heat, but an essential feature of the device is that the fluid undergoes a phase change between liquid and vapor. The motion and dynamics of the interface between the two phases can significantly affect the performance of heat pipes and similar systems.

In microgravity, the absence of buoyancy-driven convection and the resulting reduction in surface tension due to the higher temperature at the heated end of the pipe significantly impact heat pipe dynamics and thermal performance. By closely studying the liquid-to-vapor phase change and shape of the vapor-liquid interface under these conditions, Plawsky aims to investigate the underlying physics behind the function of heat pipes.

The research team will test new techniques to diagnose heat pipe malfunctions and validate new models developed in the lab back on Earth. Plawsky hopes the investigation will be a prelude to developing a future heat pipe user facility in low Earth orbit where companies could test heat pipe designs and various working fluids.

Related Links
International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
Proba-3: seeing in the dark
Paris (ESA) Aug 25, 2023
One of the precision formation flying Proba-3 satellites as seen from the other during ground testing. The pair will fly in orbit relative to one another down to millimetre scale precision, but in order to do this must keep continuous track of each other in both sunlight and darkness. To achieve this, Proba-3 combines vision-based detection, as tested here, with radio frequency links, satellite navigation and laser ranging. The Visual-Based Sensor will be used when the satellites are closer ... read more

Station Hosts 11 Crewmates from Five Countries

NASA challenges students to fly Earth and Space experiments

US seeks to extend China science accord, but only briefly for now

Indian lunar lander splits from propulsion module in key step

SpaceX sends crew of four to ISS

Rocket Lab Launches 40th Electron Mission, Successfully Flies Reused Engine

Rocket Lab inks dedicated launch deal with Japanese EO company iQPS

NASA SpaceX Crew-7 'Go' for August 25 Launch

NASA, Partners study ancient life in Australia to inform Mars search

Martian Tapas With a View: Sols 3926-3927

Delight at Dream Lake

Approaching the Ridgetop - "Bermuda Triangle" Ahead: Sols 3923-3925

From rice to quantum gas: China's targets pioneering space research

China to launch "Innovation X Scientific Flight" program, applications open worldwide

Scientists reveal blueprint of China's lunar water-ice probe mission

Shenzhou 15 crew share memorable moments from Tiangong Station mission

LeoStella and Hera Systems Establish Strategic Alliance

Viasat provides status update on Inmarsat-6 F2

Pentagon awards contracts for next 'swarm' of tiny missile defense satellites

Atlas Credit Partners provides $100M strategic financing to AST SpaceMobile

NASA to demonstrate laser communications from Space Station

UNIDIR and SWF Introduce the Space Security Lexicon: Bridging the Gap in Space Terminology

AI revolution in video games has industry players treading warily

Investigation onboard ISS seeks new insights into cooling technology for electronics

Study explains how part of the nucleolus evolved

Size dependence and the collisional dynamics of protoplanetary dust growth

A "Jupiter" hotter than the Sun

Watch an exoplanet's 17-year journey around its star

Neptune's Disappearing Clouds Linked to the Solar Cycle

The Road to Jupiter: Two decades of trajectory optimization

NASA's Europa probe gets a hotline to Earth

All Eyes on the Ice Giants

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.