Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Characterization of dynamic thermal control schemes and heat transfer pathways for incorporating variable emissivity electrochromic materials into a space suit heat rejection system
by Massina, Christopher James, Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2016, 191; 10108691
Abstract (Summary)

The feasibility of conducting long duration human spaceflight missions is largely dependent on the provision of consumables such as oxygen, water, and food. In addition to meeting crew metabolic needs, water sublimation has long served as the primary heat rejection mechanism in space suits during extravehicular activity (EVA). During a single eight hour EVA, approximately 3.6 kg (8 lbm) of water is lost from the current suit. Reducing the amount of expended water during EVA is a long standing goal of space suit life support systems designers; but to date, no alternate thermal control mechanism has demonstrated the ability to completely eliminate the loss. One proposed concept is to convert the majority of a space suit’s surface area into a radiator such that the local environment can be used as a radiative thermal sink for rejecting heat without mass loss. Due to natural variations in both internal (metabolic) loads and external (environmental) sink temperatures, radiative transport must be actively modulated in order to maintain an acceptable thermal balance. Here, variable emissivity electrochromic devices are examined as the primary mechanism for enabling variable heat rejection. This dissertation focuses on theoretical and empirical evaluations performed to determine the feasibility of using a full suit, variable emissivity radiator architecture for space suit thermal control. Operational envelopes are described that show where a given environment and/or metabolic load combination may or may not be supported by the evaluated thermal architecture. Key integration considerations and guidelines include determining allowable thermal environments, defining skin-to-radiator heat transfer properties, and evaluating required electrochromic performance properties. Analysis also considered the impacts of dynamic environmental changes and the architecture’s extensibility to EVA on the Martian surface. At the conclusion of this work, the full suit, variable emissivity radiator architecture is considered to be at a technology readiness level of 3/4, indicating that analytical proof-of-concept and component level validation in a laboratory environment have been completed. While this is not a numeric increase from previous investigations, these contributions are a significant iteration within those levels. These results improve the understanding of the capabilities provided by the full suit, variable emissivity architecture.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Klaus, David M.
Commitee: Lee, Se-Hee, Metts, Jonathan G., Nabity, James A., Stodieck, Louis S., Ungar, Eugene K.
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: Aerospace Engineering
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-B 77/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Aerospace engineering
Keywords: Extravehicular activity, Portable life support system, Space suit, Thermal control
Publication Number: 10108691
ISBN: 9781339720272
Copyright © 2019 ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy Cookie Policy