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Closed-Cycle Engine Program Used to Study Brayton Power ConversionOne form of power conversion under consideration in NASA Glenn Research Center's Thermal Energy Conversion Branch is the closed-Brayton-cycle engine. In the tens-of-kilowatts to multimegawatt class, the Brayton engine lends itself to potential space nuclear power applications such as electric propulsion or surface power. The Thermal Energy Conversion Branch has most recently concentrated its Brayton studies on electric propulsion for Prometheus. One piece of software used for evaluating such designs over a limited tradeoff space has been the Closed Cycle Engine Program (CCEP). The CCEP originated in the mid-1980s from a Fortran aircraft engine code known as the Navy/NASA Engine Program (NNEP). Components such as a solar collector, heat exchangers, ducting, a pumped-loop radiator, a nuclear heat source, and radial turbomachinery were added to NNEP, transforming it into a high-fidelity design and performance tool for closed-Brayton-cycle power conversion and heat rejection. CCEP was used in the 1990s in conjunction with the Solar Dynamic Ground Test Demonstration conducted at Glenn. Over the past year, updates were made to CCEP to adapt it for an electric propulsion application. The pumped-loop radiator coolant can now be n-heptane, water, or sodium-potassium (NaK); liquid-metal pump design tables were added to accommodate the NaK fluid. For the reactor and shield, a user can now elect to calculate a higher fidelity mass estimate. In addition, helium-xenon working-fluid properties were recalculated and updated.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Glenn Research Center
Document Type
Johnson, Paul K.
(Analex Corp. OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 2005
Publication Information
Publication: Research and Technology 2004
Subject Category
Energy Production And Conversion
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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