Lab Tests of a Thermomechanical Pump for SHOOT
Laboratory tests of a thermomechanical (TM) pump utilizing a commercially available porous disk have been conducted. Various size disks, heater configurations and outlet flow impedances have been used to characterize scale models of the pump proposed for the Superfluid Helium On-Orbit Transfer (SHOOT) Flight Experiment. The results yield the scalability of the TM pump to larger diameters and hence larger pumping rates, the dependance of flow rate on back pressure and heater power, and the limits of pumping speed due to internal losses within the porous disk due to mutual and superfluid friction. Analysis indicates that for low back pressures the flow rate is limited by the superfluid friction rather than the mutual friction. For the porous plug used in the early tests this amounts to a practical limit of 4.4 liters per hour per square centimeter. For our baselined flight plug area of 180 cm2 this yields 790 liters per hour.
KeywordsHeat Flow Critical Velocity Heater Power Superfluid Helium Flight Experiment
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