The cylindrical electrostatic liquid film radiator for heat rejection in space

H. Kim, S. G. Bankoff, M. J. Miksis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A new space radiator concept has been proposed (Kim et al., 1991, 1992a, b, 1993) in which a thin film of hot liquid, flowing along the inside of a closed membrane, rejects waste heat by radiation to the surroundings. In previous versions, the radiator rotates, supplying most of the driving force for the liquid flow. In the present design, the cylinder is stationary, and the liquid flows circumferentially under its initial momentum. Moderately large Reynolds numbers are required to overcome viscous drag, and prevent excessive thickening of the film. The major design consideration involves the application of an internal electrostatic field to pull the liquid away from the site of a membrane puncture due to micrometeorite impact. Calculations are presented that show that leaks can be stopped with a safety factor of two or more, while the surface wave thus produced is washed harmlessly out of the system. Some preliminary heat transfer performance characteristics are presented. The advantages of this concept include the absence of moving parts and the ease of deployment, compared to rotating units, and a factor of at least three for the reduction of the weight per unit surface area compared to heat pipes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)986-992
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Heat Transfer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1994


  • Space Power Systems
  • Thin Film Flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'The cylindrical electrostatic liquid film radiator for heat rejection in space'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this