PROOF OF CONCEPT OF PHASE CHANGE MATERIAL (PCM) BASED THERMAL CONTROL SYSTEM FOR SPACECRAFT PAYLOADS
Thermal control of space based electronic subsystems is a challenging task. The advantage of free convective heat transfer cannot be taken in the space environment due to absence of air. In such situation phase change material (PCM) may provide a promising solution wherein heat is absorbed as latent heat of fusion. PCM has already proven to be an effective alternative for thermal management of terrestrial electronic systems and hence same can be used in space environment as well. Recent advancements in PCM has been on developing new materials and its effective utilization for thermal storage. However, most suitable PCMs which belong to organic family, suffers a serious disadvantage of having very low thermal conductivity. Present study aimed at the thermal management of spacecraft radiator for which PCM based thermal control system is proposed. Results with only PCM (n-Eicosane) have shown that less thermal conductivity of organic PCMs has serious implications on root temperature. Hence, highly conductive low weight graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) are suggested as a filler material which acts as a thermal conductivity enhancer (TCE). With designed slab thickness the root temperature with Eicosane/GNPs is found to be less by 25.4%,19.9% and 12% as compared to one without GNPs for heat load of 2000, 1500 and 1000 kW/m2 respectively. Numerical predictions have shown that PCM/GNPs composite has potential for achieving desired thermal control in space environment.