Experimental investigation of a magnetic induction pebble-bed heater with application to nuclear thermal propulsion

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dc.contributor Midkiff, K. Clark
dc.contributor Taylor, Robert P.
dc.contributor.advisor Baker, John
dc.contributor.author Talley, Robert Michael
dc.date.accessioned 2017-03-01T17:37:28Z
dc.date.available 2017-03-01T17:37:28Z
dc.date.issued 2014
dc.identifier.other u0015_0000001_0002111
dc.identifier.other Talley_alatus_0004M_11854
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.ua.edu/handle/123456789/2496
dc.description Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
dc.description.abstract NASA explored the idea of nuclear thermal rockets in the 1950's and 60's and has recently shown interest in reviving the nuclear rocket program in an attempt to reach manned mission to Mars by 2035. One problem with nuclear rockets is finding ways to test them inside the atmosphere. NASA's Stennis Space Center has considered using a non-nuclear device to simulate a nuclear reactor during testing. The reactor is responsible for heating the propellant to over 1,922 K (3,000 °F), so the reactor simulator should be capable of heating to this temperature. A pebble-bed heater at Glenn Research Center was used for nuclear rocket testing in the past; however, the device no longer exists. This particular pebble-bed heater used hot gases to heat the pebble bed made of high melting temperature ceramics and was able to reach 2,755 K (4,500 °F) but could only sustain the temperature for 30 seconds at most. If the pebbles were heated by magnetic induction, then heat would consistently be generated within the heater, and tests could run longer. Magnetic induction heats a ferrous metal by inducing a current on its surface and by rapidly reversing a magnetic field surrounding the metal. Unfortunately, it was found that a magnetic induction pebble-bed heater using steel could not reach 1,922 K (3,000 °F) due to the Curie and melting temperatures. However, the device could be used if a higher melting temperature metal was found that was also magnetic. A small-scale pebble-bed heater heated by magnetic induction was designed, built, and tested to analyze its behavior at 27 different combinations of flow rates, pebble sizes, and power levels. The temperature changes were recorded for each test. With this data, a relationship between dimensionless heat transfer, dimensionless power, and Reynolds number was found.
dc.format.extent 93 p.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher University of Alabama Libraries
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Electronic Theses and Dissertations
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Libraries Digital Collections
dc.relation.hasversion born digital
dc.rights All rights reserved by the author unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subject.other Engineering
dc.subject.other Mechanical engineering
dc.title Experimental investigation of a magnetic induction pebble-bed heater with application to nuclear thermal propulsion
dc.type thesis
dc.type text
etdms.degree.department University of Alabama. Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
etdms.degree.discipline Mechanical Engineering
etdms.degree.grantor The University of Alabama
etdms.degree.level master's
etdms.degree.name M.S.


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