EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES OF SPRAY DEPOSITION ON A FLAT SURFACE IN A VACUUM ENVIRONMENT
Cooling of spacecraft components in the space environment is an on-going research effort. The used in modern spacecraft are always changing and the heat flux is increasing. New, one-of-a-kind missions require new approaches to thermal control. In this research, under vacuum conditions, a pulsed water spray impinged on a small disc, while a high speed data acquisition system recorded the temperature histories of this copper disc. The water droplets froze quickly and accumulated on the disc as the spray continued. After the spray stopped, the frozen water that remained on the disc then sublimated into the vacuum environment and cooled the disc. This paper examines two important aspects of this process: 1) the difference in spray start up and shutdown in a vacuum environment versus in a standard atmospheric pressure environment, and 2) the water utilization efficiency in a vacuum environment due to the effects of drop trajectories and drop bouncing on the surface. Both phenomena play a role during spray cooling in a vacuum. This knowledge should help spacecraft designers plan for spray cooling as an option to cool spacecraft , human metabolic generated heat, and heat from other sources.