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Proceedings Paper

Solar thermal plasma chamber
Author(s): Joseph Bonometti; Donald R. Buchele; Charles H. Castle; Don A. Gregory
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Paper Abstract

A unique solar thermal chamber has been designed and fabricated to produce the maximum concentration of solar energy and highest temperature possible. Its primary purpose was for solar plasma propulsion experiments and related material specimen testing above 3000 Kelvin. The design not only maximized solar concentration, but also, minimized infrared heat loss. This paper provides the underlining theory and operation of the chamber and initial optical correlation to the actual fabricated hardware. The chamber is placed at the focal point of an existing primary concentrator with a 2.74-meter (9 foot) focal length. A quartz lens focuses a smaller sun image at the inlet hole of the mirrored cavity. The lens focuses two image planes at prescribed positions; the sun at the cavity's entrance hole, and the primary concentrator at the junction plane of two surfaces that form the cavity chamber. The back half is an ellipsoid reflector that produces a 1.27 cm diameter final sun image. The image is 'suspended in space' 7.1cm away from the nearest cavity surface, to minimize thermal and contaminate damage to the mirror surfaces. A hemisphere mirror makes up the front chamber and has its center of curvature at the target image, where rays leaving the target are reflected back upon themselves, minimizing radiation losses.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 November 2001
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4446, Nonimaging Optics: Maximum Efficiency Light Transfer VI, (19 November 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.448813
Show Author Affiliations
Joseph Bonometti, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Donald R. Buchele, Northland Scientific Inc. (United States)
Charles H. Castle, Northland Scientific Inc. (United States)
Don A. Gregory, Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4446:
Nonimaging Optics: Maximum Efficiency Light Transfer VI
Roland Winston, Editor(s)

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