Terrestrial adaptation of the thermal heliotrope.The principle of using bimetal helical coils to cause solar arrays to track the sun in space is presently under consideration for array orientation on several spacecraft. Adaptation of this thermal heliotrope to terrestrial applications introduces additional design considerations. The dominance of solar-radiation energy input to the helical coil over convective energy losses has to be ensured, and wind effects must be minimized. As long as the cost of solar cells remains high, orientation will always result in a significant cost saving for the converter.
Fairbanks, J. W. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Space Power Technology Branch, Greenbelt, Md., United States)
Morse, F. H. (Maryland, University Silver Spring, Md., United States)