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- The United States Department of Energy is planning to develop the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for potential use on future space missions. The ASRG provides substantial efficiency and specific power improvements over radioisotope power systems of heritage designs. The ASRG would use General Purpose Heat Source modules as energy sources and the free-piston Advanced Stirling Convertor (ASC) to convert heat into electrical energy. Lockheed Martin Corporation of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, is integrating the ASRG systems, and Sunpower, Inc., of Athens, Ohio, is designing and building the ASC. NASA Glenn Research Center of Cleveland, Ohio, manages the Sunpower contract and provides technology development in several areas for the ASC. One area is reliability assessment for the ASC heater head, a critical pressure vessel within which heat is converted into mechanical oscillation of a displacer piston. For high system efficiency, the ASC heater head operates at very high temperature (850 C) and therefore is fabricated from an advanced heat-resistant nickel-based superalloy Microcast MarM-247. Since use of MarM-247 in a thin-walled pressure vessel is atypical, much effort is required to assure that the system will operate reliably for its design life of 17 years. One life-limiting structural response for this application is creep; creep deformation is the accumulation of time-dependent inelastic strain under sustained loading over time. If allowed to progress, the deformation eventually results in creep rupture. Since creep material properties are not available in the open literature, a detailed creep life assessment of the ASC heater head effort is underway. This paper presents an overview of that creep life assessment approach, including the reliability-based creep criteria developed from coupon testing, and the associated heater head deterministic and probabilistic analyses. The approach also includes direct benchmark experimental creep assessment. This element provides high-fidelity creep testing of prototypical heater head test articles to investigate the relevant material issues and multiaxial stress state. Benchmark testing provides required data to evaluate the complex life assessment methodology and to validate that analysis. Results from current benchmark heater head tests and newly developed experimental methods are presented. In the concluding remarks, the test results are shown to compare favorably with the creep strain predictions and are the first experimental evidence for a robust ASC heater head creep life.
- Document ID: 20100039318.
AIAA Paper 2010-7093.
Eight International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference (IECEC); 25-28 Jul. 2010; Nashville, TN; United States.
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