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John O | August 2017

Largest solar telescope gets thermal system to ensure its performance

the daniel k. inouye solar telescope (dkist) is being constructed by the national solar observatory (nso) on top of the haleakala volcano on the hawaiian island of maui and aavid thermacore recently announced that it was using its porous layer technology to cool the array.


the dkist (on left) received cooling technology from aavid thermacore.
(wikimedia commons)


the 41.5-meter tall telescope will give scientists the clearest views ever taken of the solar surface and will give scientists a better understanding of solar-terrestrial interactions, according to aavid. among the items that will be studied are solar winds, solar flares, x-ray emissions, and more.


the thermal management company designed a heat stop for the telescope.


“located at the prime focus, the heat stop prevents unwanted solar disc light from heating and scattering on subsequent optics,” aavid explained. “in a solar telescope such as the dkist, in addition to blocking light, the heat stop must also dissipate huge amounts of thermal energy. for the dkist, the heat stop reduces the heat load on subsequent optics from an enormous 12 kilowatts to a minuscule 300 watts (a reduction factor of 40).”


the heat stop that aavid designed is actively cooled by internal porous layer heat exchangers that dissipate 11 kilowatts at peak load. aavid said, “the heat stop must not only be able to survive this heat load, but it also must remain cool enough not to induce any additional turbulence inside the telescope's dome.”


the porous metal heat exchanger technology aavid used on the dkist includes well-bonded copper particles to enhance heat transfer in a series of cooling channels behind the surface of the heat stop.


“by pumping coolant through the matrix of metal particles,” aavid explained, “the high local heat transfer can be leveraged by the high surface-area density of the particles, creating unusually effective heat transfer at the primary heat input surface. this cooling approach has demonstrated some of the highest heat flux cooling capabilities ever measured for both water-cooled and gas-cooled applications.”


“the cooling requirements of the heat stop are very demanding because there will be a high heat load that must be acquired by the coolant with a relatively small temperature difference,” according to dr. mark north, thermacore’s lead project engineer for the heat stop program.  “we developed the porous metal heat exchanger technology more than a decade ago with support from sbir funding from doe and dod for fusion and laser applications. it’s gratifying to see this technology play an important role in this new application.” 


read more about the technology at http://www.worldpumps.com/construction/features/largest-solar-telescope-gets-thermal-system.

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