Aerospace Engineering Department
BS in Aerospace Engineering
The purpose of the senior project is to construct a thermal vacuum by utilizing a preexisting vacuum chamber in the Space Environments Lab, and a donated Advanced Thermal Sciences (ATS) chiller. While a thermal vacuum is already available on campus, building one for the Space Environments Lab would grant undergraduates access to the equipment, allowing a much better understanding of testing methods and procedures in use by the aerospace industry. This paper explains the design and analysis of the thermal vacuum (T-VAC) project as well as the operation and procedures required for the ATS chiller and fill/drain tank. The thermal vacuum consists of a vacuum chamber, the ATS chiller and fill/drain tank, Galden HT-110 (a heat transfer fluid), a hot/cold plate, and stainless steel tubing. Patran was utilized to analyze the design of the hot/cold plate and was then verified in a complete run of the T-VAC system. Overall, the system performed close to or better than expected, with the plate reaching a temperature as low as -18°C, and over 100°C in a short period of time, though a leak issue does still need to be resolved.