Additively Manufactured Spacecraft Thermal Control System
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Heat pipes offer a very effective thermal management solution when dealing with high powered spacecraft electronics. However, current technologies dictate that these solutions be manufactured via different processes with several integration steps. Additive manufacturing offers unique opportunities to manufacture integrated parts that cannot be realized via traditional means; heat pipes are no exception. This thesis explores three key areas of additively manufacturing heat pipes for spacecraft thermal control. First, the ability to print different wick types is explored and test samples are printed and tested for wicking potential. Second, the functionality of an additively manufactured heat pipe design is tested by performing a side-by-side comparison between a heat pipe and conduction only setup. Lastly, the ability to create dual purpose components is explored by analyzing the structural capabilities of the heat pipe design and its impact on weight and complexity of spacecraft systems. Although conclusive test results were not obtained during this design revision, additive manufacturing offers viable and unique solutions for integrated heat management and structural solutions.