Group Title: Innovative Nuclear Space Power and Propulsion Institute informational brochures
Title: NEP with vapor core reactor & MHD
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00091281/00005
 Material Information
Title: NEP with vapor core reactor & MHD
Series Title: Innovative Nuclear Space Power and Propulsion Institute informational brochures
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Innovative Nuclear Space Power and Propulsion Institute, University of Florida
Publisher: Innovative Nuclear Space Power and Propulsion Institute, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00091281
Volume ID: VID00005
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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"Space Exploration is the ultimate
investment in America's Future"

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MHD Channel


VCR-MHD


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SSIMR


An International Leader
in Space Applications


VCR/MHD


Contact Information
General: Ms. Lynne Schreiber, lynne@inspi.ufl.edu
Research: Dr. Travis Knight, knight@inspi.ufl.edu
Academic: Ms. Ines Aviles-Spadoni. iaviles@ufl.edull
INSPI
P.O. Box 116502
Gainesville, FL 32611-6502
Phone: (352) 392-1427
FAX: (352) 392-8656
www.inspi.ufl.edu



UNIVERSITY OF

FLORIDA


Fully Integrated VCR/MHD-Vasimr NEP System

The Innovative Nuclear Space Power and
Propulsion Institute (INSPI) at the University of Florida
has gathered together a multidisciplinary team of
researchers who combine skills in materials science,
computational fluid dynamics, radiological
engineering and electrodynamics for the design and
analysis of advanced nuclear electric propulsion (NEP)
systems.
INSPI envisions a fully integrated ultralight and
ultracompact power and propulsion system that
would be capable of safely transporting a human
crew to other planets of our solar system. INSPI and
its industrial partners have developed concepts based
on very low specific mass vapor core reactors with
power magnetohydrodynamic (VCR/MHD). These
systems could provide multimegawatt power for NEP
systems that dramatically reduce the mission time
for human exploration of the entire solar system.


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The order of magnitude
specific mass reduction in
VCR/MHD systems is achieved by
combing the fuel and heat
transport medium into one and
by using an ultrahigh
temperature MHD Rankine cycle.
Further reduction in total mass of
the NEP system is achieved by
direct coupling of VCR/MHD
power to a whole host of electric
thrusters. Current INSPI research
is focused on the integration of
the VCR/MHD system with the
VASIMR (Variable Specific Impulse
Magnetoplasmadynamic Rocket)
being developed by the Advanced
Space Propulsion Laboratory at
NASA's Johnson Space Center.
While a comprehensive program
is beyond any one laboratory's
effort, work at INSPI touchs upon
three major areas of NEP system
design:
Gas and Vapor Fuel Reactor
Design
Fission Power and Radiation
Enhanced ionization
Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD)
Power Conversion


Gas & Vapor Fuel Reactor Design
*Multiphase UF4 based Fuels
High Temperature Compatible
Materials
SThermo-fluid Dynamic of
Fissioning Plasma
Static and Dynamic Nuclear
Design
Although ultrahigh temperature
gas core reactors (GCRs) or vapor
core reactors (VCRs) are the way
of the future, these advanced
nuclear reactors have not been
successfully taken from the
drawing board and scaled
laboratory experiments into
prototype design. Coupled
neutronics and computational
fluid dynamic analyses have been
performed to establish the
nuclear and heat transport design
characteristics of these systems.
Designs for safe containment
vessels for the high temperature
UF4 based fuels, and design of
fuel circulation systems to meet
the cooling requirements of such
reactors, are also being
addressed.


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MHD Channel


Fission Power and Radiation
Enhanced ionization
*Vapor Core Reactor
Fuel/Working Fluid
Conductivity
Non-equilibrium Electron
Temperature
onization Enhanced Electron
Mobility
The advantage of fissioning
vapor or gas reactors is that
they provide tremendous
gas/working fluid ionization
potential. This aspect of the
research involves finding out
how to optimize the ionized gas
electrical conductivity for later
conversion into electric power
using MHD turbines. Both
electron density and electron
mobility contribute to
conductivity but the ion density
can be a problem when it gets
too high and allows overly rapid
recombination of electron and
positive ions, thus reducing the
electrical conductivity.
Efforts at INSPI are aimed at
understanding how to maximize
the electron mobility and
maintain a reasonable but not
too high ion density. Electron
mobility, and hence ultimately
the power conversion efficiency,
is strongly connected with the
reactor geometry, neutron flux,
fission power density, and the
configuration of the down-
stream magnetic turbine. With
fission fragment interactions in
the medium, electrical
conductivities of about 10 to
100 mho/m should be
attainable.


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MHD Power Conversion
*Fuel Separation Technology
High Electron Mobility
*Power Matching
SCycle Analysis
Research focuses on analyzing
combined MHD thermodynamic
cycles to achieve near optimal
efficiency in energy conversion
from the reactor output. Indeed,
magnetic "turbines" are the only
existing power generators that can
operate efficiently at temperatures
in excess of 1500 C which can be
achieved in vapor core reactors.
Proposed MHD generators will
extract energy directly, at the
highest quality, from the high
conductivity working fluid expelled
at high velocity from the reactor
core. The remaining heat content
of the fluid will be extracted at a
lower temperature in a closed
Rankine cycle before returning to
the reactor.




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