Degree Name

BS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering Department


David Esposto


This report examines the analysis of a donated Boeing variable conductance heat pipe with unknown performance characteristics. These characteristics were found through experimental means by utilizing 14 thermocouples attached to various locations on the heat pipe, the heaters and to the insulation. Although the maximum axial heat transport capability could not be determined due to the limited number of strip heaters available, the maximum radial heat flux capability of the heat pipe was found to be 2.46 W/in2. The experiment also revealed that increasing the input power decreased the burn out inclination angle and that using a coolant with a lower temperature (ice-water) decreased the wall temperatures of the pipe but not the performance. The active feedback control was also analyzed by attaching a patch heater to the reservoir and increasing the input power from 1 W to 8 W. The feedback system provided temperature control at the evaporator from 45 °C to 74 °C with a 4 °C accuracy while a constant 50 Watt input power was maintained at the strip heaters. The analysis was useful in determining the performance trends of the heat pipe through experimental means and provided the type of information that could verify design predictions or performance claims.