Experimental and numerical investigations of an open-cell copper foam (OCCF)/phase change material (PCM) composite-based module for satellite avionics thermal management in a thermal vacuum chamber (TVC)

Abdelrahman M. Elshaer, M. Kassab, A.A. Hawwash, A. M. A. Soliman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Small satellites' thermal control in the space environment is crucial. Phase change materials (PCM) are promising options for satellite thermal management in space thermal conditions. The current work provides an experimental and numerical investigation of a thermal control module (TCM) using an open-cell copper foam (OCCF)/PCM combination. The experimental tests were carried out in a thermal vacuum chamber (TVC), which simulated the vacuum space environment. The PCM thermal conductivity was boosted using OCCF and aluminium fins. The metallic parallel fins divided the heat sink into six cuboid cavities and were filled with PCM. Two samples with different pores per inch (PPI) of OCCF were adopted, one with 10 PPI and the other with 20 PPI. For the experimental work, the adopted PCM was SP 31. Two levels of heating loads were applied to the TCM: 10 W and 7 W. The numerical model was verified using the experimental work findings. The experimental work concluded that the PCM capsulation sealing is a dominant factor for successful capsule design under vacuum operation. The thermal conductivity enhancers (TCEs) remarkably improved the thermal management performance of the PCM. The case with PCM reported a reduction in the maximum temperature by about 43.67 % and 41.4 % at 7 W and 10 W, respectively, relative to the case without PCM. The PCM/fins combination could improve the PCM performance and mitigate the maximum temperature from 41.7 °C to 39.6 °C with a reduction percentage of 5 %. The OCCF reported better thermal performance than the metallic fins. The OCCF with 10 PPI decreased the PCM maximum temperature by 10.3 %. The OCCF with 20 PPI reported a reduction in the PCM maximum temperature by 13.8 % at 10 W heating power.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109572
JournalJournal of Energy Storage
Volume75
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes

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