Sushil Bhavnani, Henry M. Burt Jr. professor of mechanical engineering, has been awarded a NASA Space Technology Research Opportunities — Early Stage Innovations grant to construct condenser surfaces for use in spacecraft thermal control systems. His project, “Enabling self-propelled condensate flow during phase-change heat rejection using surface texturing,” is in collaboration with Oregon State University.
Condenser surfaces turn vapor into liquid. Bhavnani’s microtextured surfaces, which are designed with drainage channels, create a closed loop thermal management system for heat transfer and condensate flow. The system could result in a self-regulating, lightweight cooling system for spacecraft electronics that does not use additional power while pumping fluid through the system.