US Demonstrates Heat Pipe Nuclear Fission Dynamic System for the First Time

According to the report of the Physicist Organization Network on November 27 (Beijing time), scientists at institutions such as the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States demonstrated for the first time the use of heat pipes to cool small nuclear reactors, generating 24 watts of electricity through flat-top fission experiments and driving them. The Sterling engine for the Nevada National Security website device. Scientists said that a flight system may need several heat pipes and a Sterling engine module to generate about 1 kilowatt of electricity. This successful demonstration proved that a reliable nuclear reactor is expected to be used as a new space flight power system.

Heat pipe technology refers to a heat transfer element called heat pipe invented by Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1963. It makes full use of the heat conduction principle and the rapid heat transfer properties of the refrigerant, and is widely used in aerospace and military industries. Through the heat pipe, the heat of the reactor can be quickly transferred outside the heat source without the need for moving parts. The Stirling engine is a relatively simple closed-loop engine that uses compressed gas to move the piston and convert heat energy into electricity. The mutual cooperation between the two types of equipment can create a simple and reliable power supply, and is expected to be applied in the space field.

The scientists deployed nuclear fission experiments to existing flat-top experiments, allowing water-based heat pipes to extract heat from uranium and transfer the heat generated by the fission reaction to the Stirling engine. This is the first demonstration of the power generated by the space nuclear reaction system. The nuclear characteristics and thermal power levels in the experiment are very similar to the concept of space reactor flight. The biggest difference between the two is that the input temperature of the Stirling engine needs to be further improved in order to achieve aerospace. Task required performance and power output.

Today’s space missions typically use the same amount of electricity as one to two households of household lighting. A more abundant source of power can effectively increase the speed at which mission-acquired data is transmitted back to the Earth and can provide more equipment for aircraft. stand by. Researchers also stated that small, simple, and lightweight nuclear fission power systems may enhance future space exploration capabilities. What is more worth mentioning is that this study took only six months from the beginning of the concept to the final completion of the experiment, and the total cost did not exceed one million US dollars. (Reporter Zhang Hao)

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