DEVELOPMENT OF A MINIATURE, RECIPROCATING CRYOGENIC REFRIGERATOR FOR SPACE APPLICATIONS.
Final rept. Oct 64-Feb 67,
LITTLE (ARTHUR D) INC CAMBRIDGE MA
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Work on a miniature, reciprocating, closed-cycle cryogenic refrigerator for space applications has been under way since mid-1962. Now in an advanced stage of development, the refrigerator uses a reversed Brayton cycle to achieve a capacity of 2 watts at 77 K. A novel, high-speed, electromechanical drive system rotates and reciprocates the compressor and expander pistons. This action permits the use of hydrodynamic gas bearings to support the pistons and slide valves to control gas flows. All first-order electrical, mechanical, and thermodynamic problems appear to have been solved. Operating experience indicates that refrigerators employing the rotary-stroking concept are capable of high efficiency, long life, small size, and light weight. This report describes the concept on which the refrigerator is built, explains the thermodynamic cycle on which it is based, and gives a description of all components of the system. Operating experience, with the developmental model of the refrigerator, the design of a lightweight model of the refrigerator, and remaining developmental areas are discussed. Author
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