NASA has the need to efficiently store cryogenic propellants in space for long periods of time. One method to improve storage efficiency is to use multi-layer insulation (MLI), a technique that minimizes the boiling rate due to radiation heat transfer. Typically, the thermal performance of MLI is determined by measuring the rate of evaporation of liquid nitrogen from a calibrated cryostat. The main limitation with this method is that testing conditions are restricted by the boiling temperature of the , which may not match the requirements of the application. The Multi-Layer Insulation Thermal Conductivity Experiment (MIKE) at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory is capable of measuring the effective thermal conductivity of MLI at variable boundary temperatures. MIKE uses cryo-refrigerators to control boundary temperatures in the calorimeter and a calibrated thermal link to measure the heat load. To make the measurements requested by NASA, MIKE needed to be recalibrated for the 20 K to 90 K range. Also, due to the expectation of a lower heat transfer rate, the heat load support rod material was changed to one with a lower thermal conductivity to ensure the temperature difference seen on the cold rod could be measurable at the estimated heat load. Presented are the alterations to MIKE including calibration data and heat load measurements on new load-bearing MLI supplied by NASA.
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Research Article| January 29 2014
Measurements of the apparent thermal conductivity of multi-layer insulation between 20 K and 90 K
Joseph A. Hurd;
AIP Conf. Proc. 1573, 694–700 (2014)
Joseph A. Hurd, Steven W. Van Sciver; Measurements of the apparent thermal conductivity of multi-layer insulation between 20 K and 90 K. AIP Conf. Proc. 29 January 2014; 1573 (1): 694–700. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4860770
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