Phase Change Material Heat Storage Device for Launchers and Orbiting Systems



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45th International Conference on Environmental Systems


ESA’s Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP) aims at fostering new technologies capable of delivering high performance and reliability coupled with reduced operational costs for the future launch systems. Among different technologies activities, Phase Change Material (PCM) capacitors are being developed, manufactured and tested. PCM are materials selected for their high latent heat, which the phase transition (melting and solidifying) at the relevant temperature range is able to absorb and release a large amount of energy. They are usually stored in hermetically sealed container which is thermally coupled to the dissipative unit. Although already existing for a long time and used on several Space missions, PCM capacitors are still regarded as a potential and efficient thermal control solution, not only to cope with classic short launch missions but also longer launch missions (including several engine re-ignitions, deorbitation), including significant variations of internal heat dissipated by components but also of external fluxes. To some extent, such long duration scenarios can be assimilated to orbiting spacecraft missions, for which thermal control PCM can be an asset. Thus, both types of scenario are envisaged: a short dissipative simple profile and a cycling dissipative profile coupled to a cold radiative heat sink. After the trade-off between PCM capacitor solution and the standard solutions, involving the increase of thermal inertia and/or the combination of radiative opening to external environment and compensation heating power, the detailed design phase has tackled the different difficulties such as the choice of the materials, thermal couplings, the adaptability of the container or the sealing. Many intermediate characterisation tests and mock up trials have been performed to consolidate and orient the final design. Two prototypes have been manufactured and tested in both vibration and thermal environment to correlate and confirm the expected performances and reach the level of maturity TRL6.


Bellevue, Washington
Romain Peyrou-Lauga, ESA, ESTEC, The Netherlands
Jean-Paul Collette, WalOpt, Belgium
Nicolas Nutal, CRM, Belgium
The 45th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Bellevue, Washington, USA on 12 July 2015 through 16 July 2015.