Reduced gravity Rankine cycle system simulation and design with passive vortex phase separation Conference Paper uri icon


  • Liquid-metal Rankine power conversion systems (PCS) remain an attractive option for space power applications because their specific power is very favorable for plant designs of 100 kWe or higher from the viewpoint of power to weight ratio and the efficiency of power conversion. However, potential drawbacks to the Rankine cycle are two-phase fluid management such as liquid-vapor phase separation and inventory control in a reduced gravity environment. The Interphase Transport Phenomena (ITP) laboratory has developed a passive microgravity phase separator which has already proven to be an essential component of two-phase systems flown in microgravity. This separator can also act as an accumulator for system transients. The ITP laboratory recently conducted microgravity flight testing of an experiment which simulated a component of a Rankine cycle power system with HFE7000 (3M Corporation) as the surrogate working fluid and used a microgravity vortex separator for vapor and liquid separation. The paper explores the performance of the simulated system and its applicability to full scale liquid metal Rankine system designs.

published proceedings

  • Space Nuclear Conference 2007 - Proceedings of Embedded Topical Meeting, SNC'07

author list (cited authors)

  • Supak, K., Kurwitz, C., Oinuma, R., & Best, F.

complete list of authors

  • Supak, K||Kurwitz, C||Oinuma, R||Best, F

publication date

  • December 2007