Directed reflectivity, long life AMTEC condenser (DRC). Final report of Phase II SBIR program[Alkali Metal ThermoElectric Converter]

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The Alkali Metal Thermal to Electric Converter (AMTEC) is a static energy conversion device that operates at high thermal to electric conversion efficiencies that are essentially independent of size, have reached 19% and are expected to reach 25% to 30% in 1997. AMTEC systems have been chosen by NASA and DOE for spacecraft applications and have considerable promise for a wide variety of terrestrial applications. Reduction of parasitic heat losses in AMTEC systems related to radiative heat transfer from the hot side to the condenser can make a substantial contribution to system efficiency. Through design, analysis and the fabrication and ... continued below

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30 p.

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Hunt, Thomas K. September 10, 2001.

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The Alkali Metal Thermal to Electric Converter (AMTEC) is a static energy conversion device that operates at high thermal to electric conversion efficiencies that are essentially independent of size, have reached 19% and are expected to reach 25% to 30% in 1997. AMTEC systems have been chosen by NASA and DOE for spacecraft applications and have considerable promise for a wide variety of terrestrial applications. Reduction of parasitic heat losses in AMTEC systems related to radiative heat transfer from the hot side to the condenser can make a substantial contribution to system efficiency. Through design, analysis and the fabrication and testing of cells and systems, the proposed program to develop a Directed Reflectivity Condenser (DRC) has investigated the feasibility of an improved AMTEC condenser component. Phase 1 work showed the potential for adding from 4% to 7% to overall system efficiency for identical operating conditions using the concept. A detailed thermal analysis of several DRC capped cell designs was carried out and some of the conditions under which a DRC, used as the condenser at an end cap of a cylindrical converter, can reduce thermal radiation related losses were determined. A model experimental converter was built and tested to compare DRC and planar condenser surfaces. The results of both analysis and experiment indicate that for moderate aspect ratios of a cylindrical, end condensed converter, the DRC can reduce overall thermal losses by up to 4%. The initial effort in Phase 2 extended the analysis to a novel 150 watt radial AMTEC cell design. This analysis indicated that for the effective aspect ratio of this new converter design, the system performance at the 100+ watt level was not significantly improved by use of a DRC type condenser surface. Further analyses however showed that for cylindrical, end-condensed converters, optimized for use with internal radiation shields, the use of DRC surfaces on the side walls of the converter could be more effective than on the condenser end surface itself. The experimental work in Phase 2 was intended to incorporate a DRC into this cell design and use its measured performance to refine the state-of-the-art AMTEC analytical models. Because the analysis had indicated that the new radial converter design, which may be useful for systems at the {approx} 100 watt level was not much assisted by the DRC properties, this program was redirected toward the simpler cylindrical converter design with the corner cube surfaces on the side walls. The Phase II program was proposed and planned with a funding level substantially below the maximum potentially available for Phase II programs at that time. At the time, there were two other funded government sponsored programs at AMPS for which positive results of the analyses described in this report were expected to lead to incorporation of the DRC concept into converters scheduled to be built for these programs. The programs of interest were the Air Force program titled ''Radiation Tolerant, Eclipse Compatible, Solar AMTEC System'' (F29601-99-C-0132) and the DOE/NASA Advanced Radioisotope Power System (ARPS) program. Shortly after its start, the Air Force program was canceled due to elimination of AF SBIR funds at AFRL and the ARPS program was reduced to a level that could not support introduction of novel concept testing. As a result of these two circumstances, the direct testing of the DRC concept in a full up converter was not completed in the Phase II period.

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30 p.

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OSTI as DE00771234

Medium: P; Size: 30 pages

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  • Other Information: PBD: 10 Sep 2001

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  • Report No.: NONE
  • Grant Number: FG02-96ER82113
  • DOI: 10.2172/771234 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 771234
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc717643

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Creation Date

  • September 10, 2001

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 29, 2015, 5:31 a.m.

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  • April 12, 2017, 12:42 p.m.

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Hunt, Thomas K. Directed reflectivity, long life AMTEC condenser (DRC). Final report of Phase II SBIR program[Alkali Metal ThermoElectric Converter], report, September 10, 2001; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc717643/: accessed December 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.