The Graphene Flagship: new thermal management graphene devices for space applications

An image to illustrate the new thermal management graphene devices
© iStock/MikeMareen

The Graphene Flagship project, which is funded by the EU, has completed zero gravity experiments for new thermal management devices.

In May 2019, the Graphene Flagship has embarked on a new campaign for zero gravity parabolic flights to test a new thermal management graphene devices for space applications.

The work is a collaboration between the Graphene Flagship, the Université Libre de Bruxelles, the University of Cambridge, the National Research Council of Italy (CNR) and industrial partner, Leonardo.

Testing the new thermal management devices

The Graphene Flagship summarised these new activities:

  • Researchers embark on zero-gravity parabolic flights to test novel graphene-based thermal management devices for space applications.
  • Graphene significantly improves the performance of loop heat pipes, which dissipate heat in satellites to avoid equipment failure.
  • The Graphene Flagship aims to get these graphene devices included in satellites, and even the international space station in the next few years.

Iorio explained: “The rocket campaign will provide our researchers with six minutes of micro gravity. During this time, we will test fundamental aspects of graphene solutions, the same used to prepare the thermal management devices, essential tools for the future of space exploitation.”

Graphene in space

Marco Molina, Chief Technology Officer of Space line of business at Leonardo, said: “Experimentation in zero-gravity is fundamental to ensure access of new technologies to operational missions in Space. The graphene loop heat pipe is a promising application for Leonardo, a company with wide aerospace expertise, always looking at new ways to improve its products quality through innovation. We are glad the Graphene Flagship is making this possible.”

Carlo Iorio, senior researcher at Université Libre de Bruxelles and co-ordinator of the zero-gravity experiments, added: “This new parabolic flight experiment is a further step in order to test graphene in space. In June, the Graphene Flagship will test graphene in a sounding rocket campaign, which will be held in Kiruna in the North of Sweden.”

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