The Development of a 10 K Closed Cycle Stirling Cooler for Space Use
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A two-stage, split, Stirling cycle 10 K cooler is being developed for space applications to achieve the requirement for cooling silicon-based IR detectors. This program has been sponsored by the US Ballistic Missile Development Organization. It is a further extension of a Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) 20 K cooler being space qualified at Astrium (formerly Matra Marconi Space (MMS)). New features include optimized geometry and enhanced regenerator materials as well as a larger compressor system.
This paper describes the experimentation performed to develop the optimized geometry for the cooler displacer. The experimentation was achieved using existing two-stage Stirling cycle 20 K cooler hardware. Operation at 10 K is a challenging concept for a Stirling cooler and necessitated the development of new heat exchanger materials and configurations optimized for this new temperature range.
The proof of concept program included the detail design of the optimized displacer and compressor, and the manufacture and assembly leading to proof of concept laboratory testing. During testing, the cooler reached a base temperature of 9.4 K.
KeywordsRegenerator Material Cold Finger Heat Leak Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Support Tube
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- 1.A.H. Orlowska, T.W. Bradshaw and S. Scull, “Progress Towards the Development of a 10K Closed Cycle Cooler for Space Use,” Cryocoolers 10, Plenum Publishers, New York (1999), pp. 67–76.Google Scholar