Instrumentation of Comparative Cut-Bar Thermal Conductivity Measurement Apparatus

Grants and Contracts Details


The proposed research activity will be the instrumentation of a comparative cut-bar apparatus used to measure the thermal conductivity of porous insulation material used in thermal protection systems (TPS) for planetary probes and space vehicles. The cut- bar apparatus is contained within a vacuum system that allows testing to be conducted at pressures as low as 0.2 mTorr. The system has been previously constructed at the University of Kentucky and is currently in use. However, it must be monitored and manual intervention is required in the event of unexpected behavior. Environmental sensors will be installed within the vacuum chamber to create an automated system for shutting down the heaters, vacuum pumps, and coolant pump in the event of a coolant leak, coolant blockage, or thermal run-away condition. This will lead to safer and more reliable operation of the system without the need to continuous monitoring.
Effective start/end date1/1/1912/31/19


  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration


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