Space Equipment Testing in Thermal Vacuum Chamber

Pillow plate heat exchangers are widely used by the space industry in manufacturing thermal vacuum chambers. Thermal vacuum chambers are used for simulating environmental conditions in space. The most common application of a thermal vacuum chamber is testing the performance of complete satellites, subsystems and components. These tests are able to precisely replicate space conditions through the synchronous control of three essential environmental parameters: pressure, temperature and radiation. It is extremely critical to carry out such testing before launching satellites, to ensure its uncompromised performance in all those conditions.

Satellites are subject to pressures well below 10-6 mbar in space. Additionally, depending on the orbit the satellite is designed to travel to, it can be exposed to temperatures as low as -190℃. Typically, such cold thermal environments are achieved by passing fluids through pillow plate thermal shrouds. Depending on the desired temperature, thermal fluids like liquid nitrogen are flown through the space between pillow plates. The device under test achieves a uniform temperature by heat transfer from the pillow plate shroud. These shrouds are usually coated with a special low outgassing, high emissivity black paint to maximize heat transfer in high vacuum conditions.

Another important component of the thermal vacuum chamber is the vacuum generation plant. It consists of multiple stages of vacuum pumping. In the first stage a dry vacuum pump is used to achieve a pressure of around 10-2 mbar. The second stage uses a highly sophisticated cryogenic vacuum pump or commonly known as cryopumps. Pillow plates are commonly used in the manufacture of cryopumps.

Cenerge Engineering Solutions has closely worked with various research and space organisations for the development of pillow plate shrouds for thermal vacuum chambers as well pillow plates for manufacturing high quality cryopumps. Our pillow plates are 100% laser welded and are available in various shapes and sizes. They are also available in various surface finishes. We offer pillow plate heat exchangers and shrouds that are pre-coated with Kohesi Bond's KB 1452 HT-2 HE(Flat Black) high emissivity black paint. This black paint is compatible with ASTM E-595 low outgassing standards and offers an emissivity of 0.93.

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