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P Nannipieri, G Meoni, [...], F Baronti, L Fanucci, S Filippeschi, U-PHOS PROJECT: DEVELOPMENT OF A LARGE DIAMETER PULSATING HEAT PIPE EXPERIMENT ON BOARD REXUS 22, 34rd UIT Heat Transfer Conference, Ferrara (IT), July 4-6, 2016.

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U-PHOS Project aims to analyse and characterise the behaviour of a large diameter Pulsating Heat Pipe (PHP) on board REXUS 22 sounding rocket. A PHP is a passive thermal control device consisting of a serpentine capillary tube, evacuated, partially filled with a working fluid and finally sealed. In this configuration, the liquid and vapour phases are randomly distributed in the form of liquid slugs and vapour plugs. The heat is efficiently transported by means of the self-sustained oscillatory fluid motion driven by the phase change phenomena. On ground conditions, a small diameter is required in order to obtain a confined slug flow regime. In milli-gravity conditions, buoyancy forces become less intense and the PHP diameter may be increased still maintaining the slug/plug flow configuration typical of the PHP operation. Consequently, the PHP heat power capability may be increased too. U-PHOS aims at proving that a Large Diameter PHP effectively works in milli-g conditions by characterizing its thermal response during a sounding rocket flight. The actual PHP tube is made of aluminum (3 mm inner diameter, filled with FC-72), heated at the evaporator by a compact electrical resistance, cooled at the condenser by a Phase Change Material (PCM) embedded in a metallic foam. The tube wall temperatures are recorded by means of Fibre Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors; the local fluid pressure is acquired by means of a pressure transducer. The present work intends to report the actual status of the project, focusing in particular on the experiment improvements with respect to the previous campaign.