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Space Technology Research Grants

Using Carbon-Based Nanomaterials and Microscale Geometry for Enhanced Thermionic Energy Conversion in Space Applications

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Using Carbon-Based Nanomaterials and Microscale Geometry for Enhanced Thermionic Energy Conversion in Space Applications
The hypothesis of this research is that using carbon-based nanomaterials (CBN) electrodes in a microscale thermionic energy conversion (TEC) device operated at modest pressures will increase both the power density and conversion efficiency of TEC devices. For this NASA Fellowship, I will work to improve the performance of thermionic energy converters for space applications by investigating the fundamental physics of CBN-enhanced microscale thermionic energy conversion. I will focus my research efforts on the development and characterization of CBN as thermionic emitters, the development of microscale TEC devices, and the prediction of CBN-enhanced microscale TEC using particle-based simulation models. This work will increase the understanding of the complex interaction between ions and thermionic emission, and push them further toward the development of functional TEC devices. More »

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