Design and operation of an inert gas facility for thermoelectric generator storage

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While the flight hardware is protected by design from the harsh environments of space, its in-air storage often requires special protection from contaminants such as dust, moisture and other gases. One of these components, the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) which powers the missions, was deemed particularly vulnerable to pre-launch aging because the generators remain operational at core temperatures in excess of 1000 degrees centigrade throughout the storage period. Any oxygen permitted to enter the devices will react with thermally hot components, preferentially with molybdenum in the insulating foils, and with graphites to form CO/CO{sub 2} gases which are corrosive to ... continued below

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Pages: (6 p)

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Goebel, C.J. January 1, 1990.

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Description

While the flight hardware is protected by design from the harsh environments of space, its in-air storage often requires special protection from contaminants such as dust, moisture and other gases. One of these components, the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) which powers the missions, was deemed particularly vulnerable to pre-launch aging because the generators remain operational at core temperatures in excess of 1000 degrees centigrade throughout the storage period. Any oxygen permitted to enter the devices will react with thermally hot components, preferentially with molybdenum in the insulating foils, and with graphites to form CO/CO{sub 2} gases which are corrosive to the thermopile. It was important therefore to minimize the amount of oxygen which could enter, by either limiting the effective in-leakage areas on the generators themselves, or by reducing the relative amount of oxygen within the environment around the generators, or both. With the generators already assembled and procedures in place to assure minimal in-leakage in handling, the approach of choice was to provide a storage environment which contains significantly less oxygen than normal air. 2 refs.

Physical Description

Pages: (6 p)

Notes

NTIS, PC A02/MF A01 - OSTI

Source

  • 7. symposium on space nuclear power systems, Albuquerque, NM (USA), 7-11 Jan 1990

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  • Other: DE90007146
  • Report No.: MLM-3623-OP
  • Report No.: CONF-900109--20
  • Grant Number: AC04-88DP43495
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 5062928
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1055673

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • January 1, 1990

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  • Jan. 22, 2018, 7:23 a.m.

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  • April 27, 2018, 11:33 a.m.

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Goebel, C.J. Design and operation of an inert gas facility for thermoelectric generator storage, article, January 1, 1990; United States. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1055673/: accessed March 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.