In recent years, loop heat pipe (LHP) technology has transitioned from a developmental technology to one that is flight ready. The LHP is considered to be more robust than capillary pumped loops (CPL) because the LHP does not require any preconditioning of the system prior to application of the heat load, nor does its performance become unstable in the presence of two-phase fluid in the core of the evaporator. However, both devices have a lower limit on input power: below a certain power, the system may not start properly.
The NASA-standard thermohydraulic analyzer, SINDA/ FLUINT, has been used to model various aspects of loop heat pipe (LHP) operation for more than 12 years. Indeed, this code has many features that were specifically designed for just such specialized tasks, and is unique in this respect.
This paper describes the application of the general purpose SINDA/FLUINT thermohydraulic analyzer to the modeling of vapor compression (VC) cycles such as those commonly used in automotive climate control and building HVAC systems. The software is able to simulate transient operation of vapor compression cycles, predicting pressures, coefficients of performance, and condenser/evaporator liquid positions in a closed two-phase system with a fixed fluid charge.
The primary thermal management issue associated with Space Solar Power (SSP) is the need to acquire, transport and reject waste heat loads, on the order of 3.8 GW, from the transmitter to remote radiator locations. Previous conceptual studies have focused on transporting these loads to large remote radiators. These concepts assumed the ability to transport the heat either passively or mechanical over large transport distances of 100 meters or more.
This paper describes the need for dynamic (transient) simulation of automotive air conditioning systems, the reasons why such simulations are challenging, and the applicability of a general purpose off-the-shelf thermohydraulic analyzer to answer such challenges.
An overview of modeling methods for the basic components are presented, along with relevant approximations and their effect on speed and accuracy of the results.
LHPs and CPLs are increasingly accepted as thermal control solutions for spacecraft, and they are being investigated for various terrestrial applications as well. For a potential user of these technologies, modeling at the system level has been difficult, to say the least, and concurrent engineering methods were non-existent. New methods are now available to address these needs and concurrent CAD methods result in fast and accurate model generation.
Two-phase loops with several capillary evaporators are being developed for a variety of existing and future space applications. While modeling of loop heat pipes with one or two conventional evaporators is relatively straightforward and can be done, for example, using Excel VBA, modeling of loops with several three-port or four-port evaporators requires more specialized software such as Thermal Desktop™.
As air cooling of electronics reaches the limits of its applicability, the next generation of cooling technology is likely to involve heat pipes and single- or two-phase coolant loops (including perhaps loop thermosyphons, spray cooling, vapor compression refrigeration cycles, and loop heat pipes). These technologies are not suitable for analysis using 2D/3D computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software, and yet the geometric complexities of the thermal/structural models make network-style schematic modeling methods cumbersome.