…has only just begun:
…involves pushing the boundary of deep-space travel. I am investigating how the Heisenberg vortex has the potential to allow a completely new strategy for the refrigeration of liquid hydrogen tanks to reduce boil-off. Current boil-off rates constrict mission scenarios and the ability to use our most efficient propellant in both chemical and nuclear rocket applications. The para-orthohydrogen conversion via the Heisenberg vortex consists of a Ranque-Hilsch vortex tube with catalytic liner and takes advantage of the endothermic quantum phase change at cryogenic temperatures. This invention will have a direct impact on NASA TABS 14.1 Cryogenic Systems technology area. Complex cryocoolers are currently used for refrigeration due to liquid hydrogen’s very low temperature requirements. But, these systems are heavy, power intensive, and contain many moving parts. The Heisenberg vortex has the potential to supersede current cryocooler technology resulting in an efficient, reliable refrigeration system with no moving parts and lightweight characteristics. This advance is directly relevant to the Evolvable Cryogenics (eCryo) and the Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES) projects and is possible thanks to the NASA Science Technology Research Fellowship. This project is a continuation of the NASA relationship established here at the HYPER Lab and Washington State University.