Heat transport technologies - thermal control based on fluid flow
Satellite thermal control design currently faces several challenges, such as higher payload dissipation, increasing heat transport distance, denser packing of the on-board electronics and increasing need for satellite radiator area.
Because of these changes, heat transfer based only on conduction and radiation phenomena is no longer sufficient to minimise the thermal gradient between the payload and the radiators.
Transporting the heat by means of a flowing fluid within a hermetically sealed container, driven either by capillary forces or mechanical pumps, is therefore needed in order to respond to the described thermal control design challenges.
ESA has been involved in development of fluid-flow-based heat transport systems since the early 1970s.
Last update: 2 May 2007