Graphene in zero Gravity promises success in space

Experiments testing graphene for two different space-related applications have shown extremely promising results.

“Graphene as we know has a lot of opportunities. One of them, recognised early on, is space applications, and this is the first time that graphene has been tested in space-like applications, worldwide,” said Prof. Andrea Ferrari (University of Cambridge, UK), Science and Technology Officer of the Graphene Flagship.

  • Graphene’s excellent thermal properties are promising for improving the performance of loop heat pipes, thermal management systems used in aerospace and satellite applications.
  • The main element of the loop heat pipe is the metallic wick, where heat is transferred from a hot object into a fluid, which cools the system.
  • “We are aiming at an increased lifetime and an improved autonomy of the satellites and space probes. By adding graphene, we will have a more reliable loop heat pipe, capable to operate autonomously in space,” said Dr Marco Molina, Chief Technical Officer of Leonardo’s space line of business.
  • “It was amazing, the feeling is incredible and its extremely interesting to do experiments in these kinds of conditions but also to enjoy the free-floating zone. The whole experience was really great,” said Vanja Miskovic, a student at Universit√© libre de Bruxelles who performed the experiment in microgravity during a parabolic flight operated by Novespace.
  • The team worked hard to make the experiment successful. “Despite the initial technical difficulties, we managed to quickly figure out what was going on, fix the issues and get back on track. We are very happy with the results of the experiment as we observed laser-induced motion of a graphene light sail, and most importantly we had a great experience!” said Davide Stefani, GrapheneX team member.

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