Paper Info

Development of a 3D Printed Loop Heat Pipe
CubeSats and Smallsats have increased in popularity and capability, but advanced thermal solutions are required to keep up with the increasing heat loads. Loop heat pipes (LHPs) are a passive solution capable of transporting heat from electronics to deployable radiator panels, but are currently cost prohibitive for most small satellite applications. A 3D printed LHP has been developed using a direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) process. The additive manufacturing process significantly reduces fabrication costs by eliminating labor intensive steps while also eliminating the knife-edge seal to offer improved reliability. The 3D printed wick for the LHP evaporator was developed through an experimental optimization study. A proof of concept LHP was built and tested using a 3D printed primary wick. A maximum power of 125W was achieved during steady state testing. Additional tests were completed including power cycles, adverse elevation, and low power startup. Based on the successful prototype testing additional work is underway for further optimization of the 3D printed wick design and development of DMLS parameters for secondary wick fabrication.
Bradley Richard
Other Author
William G. Anderson, Joel Crawmer

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