Purdue University researchers, in the culmination of a four-year NASA-funded project, have created a method that will enable engineers to design more efficient systems for heating, cooling and other applications in spacecraft for missions to Mars and the moon.
The new method uses a model that was recently shown to be highly accurate in experiments onboard a NASA KC-135 aircraft that creates reduced gravity conditions such as those in earth orbit, on the moon and Mars. The aircraft flies in steep maneuvers, causing brief periods of microgravity in which to test theories for the design of space hardware, said Issam Mudawar, a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering, director of Purdues Boiling and Two-Phase Flow Laboratory and the universitys International Electronic Cooling Alliance.
"Our model can predict how these systems behave in reduced gravity based on operating conditions, how much fluid is flowing in a tube, how fast it is flowing, what the tube diameter and tube length are, and so on," Mudawar said. "What’s neat about the flight experiments is that not only did we get data about the microgravity of space travel, but we also simulated the reduced gravity of the moon and Mars."
Emil Venere | EurekAlert!
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