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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Hydrogen Wave Heater for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Component Testing

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

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NASA has identified Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) as an approach that can provide the fastest trip times to Mars and as the preferred concept for human space travel. In order to perform component testing in support of NTP engine development, an efficient means for delivering high-flowrate, high-temperature hydrogen is required. Non-nuclear generation of the desired hydrogen flowrates and temperatures for ground test of NTP components and subsystems is problematic. ACENT Laboratories is developing a Hydrogen Wave Heater (HWH) for this application. The HWH is an innovative embodiment of a wave rotor. Wave rotors can be used as a primary compressor/heater or as a topping compressor/heater to multiply the temperature and pressure of an existing compression or heating process. These highly-scalable continuous-flow devices are capable of flow rates in excess of 100 lb/s and temperatures over 5000 F.

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