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TWI Joins European Space Agency Project

Mon, 04 January, 2021

TWI recently joined a project funded by and for the European Space Agency to develop compact lightweight micro-channel heat exchangers (MCHX) for reusable launch systems.

We will be working closely with Confluent Research Ltd to design an efficient, effective and novel MCHX using simulation-driven design (SDD). In the programme, we will be exploring different channel geometries, materials and designs to achieve the following objectives:

  • Maximise the heat transfer
  • Maintain laminar flow of the fluids
  • Keep pressure losses to a minimum
  • Minimise vaporisation of coolant fluid

By solving the above, the ultimate objective of the project can be achieved:

  • To increase, by an order of magnitude, thermal performance in order to realise flight-weight microchannel heat exchangers

At the end of the SDD phase, MCHX breadboards will be manufactured at TWI, followed by rigorous performance testing on a bespoke test rig, designed and manufactured as part of this programme, to validate the concepts.  

TWI is delighted to be working closely with the ESA and Confluent Research to help deliver a technical solution that will enable reusable launching system engines.

Figure 1. Cross sectioned microchannel heat exchanger
Figure 1. Cross sectioned microchannel heat exchanger

(Disclaimer – the view expressed above can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency)

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