Parametric study of variable emissivity radiator surfaces

Grob, Lisa M.; Swanson, Theodore D.
January 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 504 Issue 1, p809
Academic Journal
The goal of spacecraft thermal design is to accommodate a high function satellite in a low weight and real estate package. The extreme environments that the satellite is exposed during its orbit are handled using passive and active control techniques. Heritage passive heat rejection designs are sized for the hot conditions and augmented for the cold end with heaters. The active heat rejection designs to date are heavy, expensive and/or complex. Incorporating an active radiator into the design that is lighter, cheaper and more simplistic will allow designers to meet the previously stated goal of thermal spacecraft design. Varying the radiator’s surface properties without changing the radiating area (as with VCHP), or changing the radiators’ views (traditional louvers) is the objective of the variable emissivity (vary-e) radiator technologies. A parametric evaluation of the thermal performance of three such technologies is documented in this paper. Comparisons of the Micro-Electromechanical Systems (MEMS), Electrochromics, and Electrophoretics radiators to conventional radiators, both passive and active are quantified herein. With some noted limitations, the vary-e radiator surfaces provide significant advantages over traditional radiators and a promising alternative design technique for future spacecraft thermal systems. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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