Micross

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Thermal Energy Storage Technology Developments
Keywords: Thermal Energy Storage, Spacecraft thermal control, Phase change materials
This paper describes recent technology developments in thermal energy storage devices for use on spacecraft for thermal control of electronic components requiring thermal stability. A thermal energy storage module has been designed, built and tested using lithium nitrate as the melt material and carbon foam as the conductive filler. For this unit the observed melt temperature was around 30 C. The supercooling property of lithium nitrate was reduced by adding zinc nitrate as a catalyst. The hydrophobic nature of the carbon foam was overcome by adding a surfactant to the lithium nitrate. The resulting energy storage capacity of the prototype module during the melt was 40 kJ/kg. There was very good thermal conductivity through the module resulting in very low temperature gradients even at high power levels.
Michael Pauken, Senior Thermal Engineer
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA
USA


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