INWIP – Innovative Wickless Heat Pipe Systems for Ground and Space Applications

The Innovative Wickless Heat Pipe Systems for Ground and Space Applications (INWIP) project, funded by ESA, aims at designing, manufacturing and testing innovative wickless heat pipes with enhanced performances and reliability for both Space and Ground applications.

The research study is focused on the numerical and experimental investigation of three different two-phase heat transfer devices, namely wickless hybrid ThermoSyphons (TS), Grooved Heat Pipes (GHP) and Pulsating Heat Pipes (PHP). The performance of these systems will be compared against the heat pipes materials, sizes and shapes. Several working fluids, including self-rewetting fluids (SRF) will be selected for applications at ambient temperature (below 100°C) and at high temperature (above 100°C). Moreover, the effects of functionalized surfaces (hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces) on the heat pipes performance will be also assessed.

In addition to the Ground test campaign, experimental tests will be performed on parabolic flights offering microgravity and hypergravity conditions. Tests will also be performed using sounding rockets for longer milligravity experiments. A further aim of the research is the preparation of systematic experimentation on the Thermal Platform1 TP1 on board the International Space Station (ISS), investigating particular GHP and PHP with ordinary and Self- Rewetting working Fluids (SRF).

The project team is composed of three main partners (the University of Naples, the University of Pisa, and the University of Brighton), which are responsible for the development of the three technologies (TS, GHP, PHP), and twelve scientific and industrial partners. Furthermore, six international partners from Brazil, Japan, India, and Russia contribute with parallel research activities. ARGOTEC provides engineering support to the other partners for the design and development of the hardware used on the parabolic flights.

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