Design of Heat Pipe Test Facilities for Micro Reactor Applications

Heat pipe_v5.jpg

Heat pipe cooled microreactors are designed to produce thermal power of less than 20 MWt for remote installations. Based on the prototype heat pipes in various microreactor designs, heat pipe test facilities were designed to investigate high-temperature two-phase flow behavior and its effects on heat pipe performance. The ultimate goal is to improve the heat pipe model specifically for the micro-reactor through conducting high-resolution measurements in constructed test facilities.

Heat pipes in microreactor applications contain liquid metal working fluids for high temperature operation, which makes it challenging and costly to conduct experiments in laboratory. In addition, working with liquid metal heat pipes requires extensive safety precautions and working within an isolated environment. The Low Temperature Heat Pipe Test Facility (LTHPF) addresses these difficulties and allows internal flow temperature and pressure measurements along with flow visualization capabilities. The choice of the low-temperature working fluids at low pressures (< 130 psig) will be based upon the phenomena of interest for heat pipe-cooled microreactor applications and a detailed scaling analysis.


Modeling and Prediction of Cryogenic Propellant Behavior in Microgravity During Long-Term Storage


The ultimate goal of this project is to provide an integrated computational toolkit for NASA scientists to efficiently and accurately predict the long-term cryogenic propellant behavior in storage tanks for space mission planning. The toolkit will leverage capabilities of existing Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and nodal codes used by NASA for cryogenic propellant analysis with new efficient coupling approaches and accurate fluid dynamics and heat transfer correlations.


  • Photron Mini UX100 High-speed camera

  • LUNA ODiSI 6000 series sensing instruments

  • Cluster access, including the state-of-the-art AiMOS supercomputer

  • Low-Temperature Heat Pipe Test Facility (LTHPF) (currently under construction)

  • High-Temperature Heat Pipe Test Facility (LTHPF) (currently under development)