Accession Number : ADA611073


Title :   Experimental Investigation of Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage for Bi-Modal Solar Thermal Propulsion


Descriptive Note : Technical paper Jun-Jul 2014


Corporate Author : AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB EDWARDS AFB CA AEROSPACE SYSTEMS DIRECTORATE


Personal Author(s) : Gilpin, Matthew R ; Scharfe, David B ; Young, Marcus P ; Webb, Rebecca N


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a611073.pdf


Report Date : Jun 2014


Pagination or Media Count : 19


Abstract : A bi-modal solar thermal system capable of providing propulsive and electric power to a spacecraft has been identified as a promising architecture for microsatellites requiring a substantial _V . The use of a high performance thermal energy storage medium is the enabling technology for such a configuration and previous solar thermal studies have suggested the use of high temperature phase change materials (PCMs) such as silicon and boron. To date, developmental constraints and a lack of knowledge have prevented the inclusion of these materials in solar thermal designs and analysis has remained at the conceptual stage. It is the focus of this ongoing research effort to experimentally investigate using both silicon and boron as high temperature PCMs and enable a bi-modal system design which can dramatically increase the operating envelope for microsatellites. This paper discusses the current progress of a continued experimental investigation into a molten silicon based thermal energy storage system. Using a newly operational solar furnace facility, silicon samples have been melted and results indicate that volumetric expansion during freezing will be the primary difficulty in using silicon as a PCM. Further experimental studies using different materials and test section fill factors have identified potentially reliable experimental conditions at the expense of energy storage density. In addition to conducting experiments, a concurrent computational effort is underway to produce representative models of the experimental system. The current models generally follow experimental results; however, difficulties still remain in determining high temperature material properties and material interactions. This paper also discusses the future direction of this research effort including modeling improvements, analysis of convective coupling with phase change energy storage and potential facility improvements.


Descriptors :   *SOLAR ENERGY , *THERMAL PROPERTIES , ARCHITECTURE , BORON , COMPUTATIONS , CONFIGURATIONS , CONVECTION , COSTS , COUPLING(INTERACTION) , DENSITY , ELECTRIC POWER , ENERGY STORAGE , EXPERIMENTAL DATA , FACILITIES , FREEZING , HEAT , HIGH TEMPERATURE , INTERACTIONS , MATERIALS , MODELS , PAPER , PHASE TRANSFORMATIONS , PROPULSION SYSTEMS , RELIABILITY , SAMPLING , SILICON , SOLAR FURNACES , SOLAR RADIATION , SPACECRAFT , STORAGE , TEST AND EVALUATION , TEST EQUIPMENT , THERMAL RADIATION


Subject Categories : Electric Power Production and Distribution
      Thermodynamics


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE