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Testing of Milliwatt Power Source Components

Snyder, G. Jeffrey and Borshchevsky, A. and Zoltan, A. and Caillat, T. and Fleurial, J.-P. and Nesmith, B. and Mondt, J. and McBirney, T. and Allen, D. and Bass, J. C. and Ghamaty, S. and Elsner, N. and Anatychuk, L. (2003) Testing of Milliwatt Power Source Components. In: International Conference on Thermoelectrics, 21st (ICT '02), Long Beach, CA, 25-29 August 2002. IEEE , Piscataway, NJ, pp. 463-470. ISBN 0-7803-7683-2.

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A milliwatt power source (MPS) has been developed to satisfy the requirements of several potential solar system exploration missions. The MPS is a small power source consisting of three major components: a space qualified heat source (RHU), a thermopile (thermoelectric converter or TEC) and a container to direct the RHU heat to the TEC. Thermopiles from Hi-Z Technology, Inc. of San Diego and the Institute of Thermoelectricity of Chernivtsi Ukraine suitable for the MPS were tested and shown to perform as expected, producing 40 mW of power with a temperature difference of about 170°C. Such thermopiles were successfully life tested for up to a year. A MPS container designed and built by Swales Aerospace was tested with both a TEC simulator and actual TEC. The Swales unit, tested under dynamic vacuum, provided less temperature difference than anticipated, such that the TEC produced 20 mW of power with heat input equivalent to a RHU.

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Additional Information:© Copyright 2002 IEEE. Reprinted with permission. [Posted online: 2003-04-02] The work described in this paper was carried out by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Subject Keywords:life testing, radioisotope thermoelectric generators, space vehicle power plants, thermocouples, thermopiles
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:SNYict02
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9088
Deposited By: Jeff Snyder
Deposited On:26 Oct 2007
Last Modified:02 Oct 2019 23:57

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