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Proceedings Paper

Sorption cooling: a valid extension to passive cooling
Author(s): Jan Doornink; Johannes Burger; Marcel ter Brake
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Paper Abstract

Passive cooling has shown to be a very dependable cryogenic cooling method for space missions. Several missions employ passive radiators to cool down their delicate sensor systems for many years, without consuming power, without exporting vibrations or producing electromagnetic interference. So for a number of applications, passive cooling is a good choice. At lower temperatures, the passive coolers run into limitations that prohibit accommodation on a spacecraft. The approach to this issue has been to find a technology able to supplement passive cooling for lower temperatures, which maintains as much as possible of the advantages of passive coolers. Sorption cooling employs a closed cycle Joule-Thomson expansion process to achieve the cooling effect. Sorption cells perform the compression phase in this cycle. At a low temperature and pressure, these cells adsorb the working fluid. At a higher temperature they desorb the fluid and thus produce a high-pressure flow to the restriction in the cold stage. The sorption process selected for this application is of the physical type, which is completely reversible. It does not suffer from degradation as is the case with chemical sorption of e.g. hydrogen in metal hydrides. Sorption coolers include no moving parts except for some check valves, they export neither mechanical vibrations nor electromagnetic interference, and are potentially very dependable due to their simplicity. The required cooling temperature determines the type of working fluid to be applied. Sorption coolers can be used in conjunction with passive cooling for heat rejection at different levels. This paper starts with a brief discussion on applications of passive coolers in different types of orbits and the limitations on passive cooling at low cooling temperatures. Next, the working principle of sorption cooling is summarized. The DARWIN mission is chosen as an example application of sorption and passive cooling and special attention is paid to the reduction of the radiator area needed by the sorption cooler. By examining the performance of alternative working fluids suitable for different cooling temperatures, the application field of this type of sorption cooling is currently expanded.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 October 2007
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 6744, Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XI, 67441E (17 October 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.769218
Show Author Affiliations
Jan Doornink, Dutch Space B.V. (Netherlands)
Johannes Burger, Univ. Twente (Netherlands)
Marcel ter Brake, Univ. Twente (Netherlands)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6744:
Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XI
Shahid Habib; Roland Meynart; Steven P. Neeck; Haruhisa Shimoda, Editor(s)

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