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Kenneth L. Webster

Bio: Kenneth L. Webster is an academic researcher. The author has contributed to research in topics: Nuclear power & Space (mathematics). The author has an hindex of 1, co-authored 4 publications receiving 4 citations.

Papers
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25 Jul 2010
TL;DR: In this paper, an annular linear induction pump was tested over a range of conditions, including frequencies of 33, 36, 39, and 60 Hz, liquid metal temperatures from 125 to 525 C, and input voltages from 5 to 120 V. The maximum efficiency measured during testing was slightly greater than 6%.
Abstract: Results of performance testing of an annular linear induction pump are presented. The pump electromagnetically pumps liquid metal through a circuit specially designed to allow for quantification of the performance. Testing was conducted over a range of conditions, including frequencies of 33, 36, 39, and 60 Hz, liquid metal temperatures from 125 to 525 C, and input voltages from 5 to 120 V. Pump performance spanned a range of flow rates from roughly 0.16 to 5.7 L/s (2.5 to 90 gpm), and pressure head less than 1 to 90 kPa (less than 0.145 to 13 psi). The maximum efficiency measured during testing was slightly greater than 6%. The efficiency was fairly insensitive to input frequency from 33 to 39 Hz, and was markedly lower at 60 Hz. In addition, the efficiency decreased as the NaK temperature was raised. The performance of the pump operating on a variable frequency drive providing 60 Hz power compared favorably with the same pump operating on 60 Hz power drawn directly from the electrical grid.

4 citations

05 Dec 2011
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors describe previous and ongoing non-nuclear testing related to space nuclear systems at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in order to augment the potential benefit from any nuclear testing that may be required for space nuclear system design and development.
Abstract: Highly realistic non-nuclear testing can be used to investigate and resolve potential issues with space nuclear power and propulsion systems. Non-nuclear testing is particularly useful for systems designed with fuels and materials operating within their demonstrated nuclear performance envelope. Non-nuclear testing also provides an excellent way for screening potential advanced fuels and materials prior to nuclear testing, and for investigating innovative geometries and operating regimes. Non-nuclear testing allows thermal hydraulic, heat transfer, structural, integration, safety, operational, performance, and other potential issues to be investigated and resolved with a greater degree of flexibility and at reduced cost and schedule compared to nuclear testing. The primary limit of non-nuclear testing is that nuclear characteristics and potential nuclear issues cannot be directly investigated. However, non-nuclear testing can be used to augment the potential benefit from any nuclear testing that may be required for space nuclear system design and development. This paper describes previous and ongoing non-nuclear testing related to space nuclear systems at NASA s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC).
03 May 2010
TL;DR: In this article, the authors describe previous and ongoing non-nuclear testing related to space nuclear systems at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and describe the potential benefit from any nuclear testing that may be required for space nuclear system design and development.
Abstract: Highly realistic non-nuclear testing can be used to investigate and resolve potential issues with space nuclear power and propulsion systems. Non-nuclear testing is particularly useful for systems designed with fuels and materials operating within their demonstrated nuclear performance envelope. Non-nuclear testing allows thermal hydraulic, heat transfer, structural, integration, safety, operational, performance, and other potential issues to be investigated and resolved with a greater degree of flexibility and at reduced cost and schedule compared to nuclear testing. The primary limit of non-nuclear testing is that nuclear characteristics and potential nuclear issues cannot be directly investigated. However, non-nuclear testing can be used to augment the potential benefit from any nuclear testing that may be required for space nuclear system design and development. This paper describes previous and ongoing non-nuclear testing related to space nuclear systems at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC).

Cited by
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Proceedings ArticleDOI
01 Mar 2009
TL;DR: The Fission Surface Power Systems project (FSPSP) as discussed by the authors has focused on subscale component and subsystem demonstrations to address the feasibility of a low-risk, low-cost approach to space nuclear power for surface missions.
Abstract: Power is a critical consideration in planning exploration of the surfaces of the Moon, Mars, and places beyond Nuclear power is an important option, especially for locations in the solar system where sunlight is limited or environmental conditions are challenging (eg, extreme cold, dust storms) NASA and the Department of Energy are maintaining the option for fission surface power for the Moon and Mars by developing and demonstrating technology for a fission surface power system The Fission Surface Power Systems project has focused on subscale component and subsystem demonstrations to address the feasibility of a low-risk, low-cost approach to space nuclear power for surface missions Laboratory demonstrations of the liquid metal pump, reactor control drum drive, power conversion, heat rejection, and power management and distribution technologies have validated that the fundamental characteristics and performance of these components and subsystems are consistent with a Fission Surface Power preliminary reference concept In addition, subscale versions of a non-nuclear reactor simulator, using electric resistance heating in place of the reactor fuel, have been built and operated with liquid metal sodium-potassium and helium/xenon gas heat transfer loops, demonstrating the viability of establishing system-level performance and characteristics of fission surface power technologies without requiring a nuclear reactor While some component and subsystem testing will continue through 2011 and beyond, the results to date provide sufficient confidence to proceed with system level technology readiness demonstration To demonstrate the system level readiness of fission surface power in an operationally relevant environment (the primary goal of the Fission Surface Power Systems project), a full scale, 1/4 power Technology Demonstration Unit (TDU) is under development The TDU will consist of a non-nuclear reactor simulator, a sodium-potassium heat transfer loop, a power conversion unit with electrical controls, and a heat rejection system with a multi-panel radiator assembly Testing is planned at the Glenn Research Center Vacuum Facility 6 starting in 2012, with vacuum and liquid-nitrogen cold walls to provide simulation of operationally relevant environments A nominal two-year test campaign is planned including a Phase 1 reactor simulator and power conversion test followed by a Phase 2 integrated system test with radiator panel heat rejection The testing is expected to demonstrate the readiness and availability of fission surface power as a viable power system option for NASA's exploration needs In addition to surface power, technology development work within this project is also directly applicable to in-space fission power and propulsion systems

20 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the design variables of an annular linear induction electromagnetic pump (ALIP) for SFR thermal hydraulic experimental loop were analyzed magnetohydrodynamically and the developed pressure was found to be a function of design variables, including pump core length, inner core diameter and flow gap.

14 citations

03 May 2010
TL;DR: The Early Flight Fission Test Facility (EFF-TF) was established by the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to provide a capability for performing hardware-directed activities to support multiple in-space nuclear reactor concepts by using a non-nuclear test methodology as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: The Early Flight Fission Test Facility (EFF-TF) was established by the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to provide a capability for performing hardware-directed activities to support multiple in-space nuclear reactor concepts by using a non-nuclear test methodology. This includes fabrication and testing at both the module/component level and near prototypic reactor configurations. The EFF-TF is currently supporting an effort to develop an affordable fission surface power (AFSP) system that could be deployed on the Lunar surface. The AFSP system is presently based on a pumped liquid metal-cooled (Sodium-Potassium eutectic, NaK-78) reactor design. This design was derived from the only fission system that the United States has deployed for space operation, the Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power (SNAP) 10A reactor, which was launched in 1965. Two prototypical components recently tested at MSFC were a pair of Stirling power conversion units that would be used in a reactor system to convert heat to electricity, and an annular linear induction pump (ALIP) that uses travelling electromagnetic fields to pump the liquid metal coolant through the reactor loop. First ever tests were conducted at MSFC to determine baseline performance of a pair of 1 kW Stirling convertors using NaK as the hot side working fluid. A special test rig was designed and constructed and testing was conducted inside a vacuum chamber at MSFC. This test rig delivered pumped NaK for the hot end temperature to the Stirlings and water as the working fluid on the cold end temperature. These test were conducted through a hot end temperature range between 400 to 550C in increments of 50 C and a cold end temperature range from 30 to 70 C in 20 C increments. Piston amplitudes were varied from 6 to 1 1mm in .5 mm increments. A maximum of 2240 Watts electric was produced at the design point of 550 hot end, 40 C cold end with a piston amplitude of 10.5mm. This power level was reached at a gross thermal efficiency of 28%. A baseline performance map was established for the pair of 1kW Stirling convertors. The performance data will then be used for design modification to the Stirling convertors. The ALIP tested at MSFC has no moving parts and no direct electrical connections to the liquid metal containing components. Pressure is developed by the interaction of the magnetic field produced by the stator and the current which flows as a result of the voltage induced in the liquid metal contained in the pump duct. Flow is controlled by variation of the voltage supplied to the pump windings. Under steady-state conditions, pump performance is measured for flow rates from 0.5-4.3 kg/s. The pressure rise developed by the pump to support these flow rates is roughly 5-65 kPa. The RMS input voltage (phase-to-phase voltage) ranges from 5-120 V, while the frequency can be varied arbitrarily up to 60 Hz. Performance is quantified at different loop temperature levels from 50 C up to 650 C, which is the peak operating temperature of the proposed AFSP reactor. The transient response of the pump is also evaluated to determine its behavior during startup and shut-down procedures.

3 citations

ReportDOI
13 Jun 2022
TL;DR: In this article , a new annular flow Lead Fast Reactor (LRF) was designed to produce electricity with inexpensive photovoltaic cells using the heat generated from nuclear fission to raise the temperature of a selective thermal emitter to >800°C.
Abstract: Recently, significant advances have been made in designing high-temperature capable nuclear fuels. In parallel, important advances have occurred in design of nanophotonic structures (coatings) with ability to shape the frequencies of light being emitted from hot surfaces. In this project, we bring these materials advances together into a design for a new direct conversion nuclear powered system with high thermodynamic efficiency, inherent safety, and unprecedented reduction in size and weight relative to current designs. The concept involves using the heat generated from nuclear fission to raise the temperature of a selective thermal emitter to >800°C. The selective emitter shifts the normal broad brand emissions of light from its hot surface into the correct near- and mid-infrared bands that produce electricity with inexpensive photovoltaic cells. We have designed a new annular flow Lead Fast Reactor that minimizes overall reactor/power conversion footprint. The results indicate that the overall microreactor/power-system design offers a 2X reduction in size over existing technology that is based on the supercritical carbon dioxide reverse compression Brayton cycle. Additionally, the only moving part in our design is a circulation pump to cool the thermal photovoltaic panels.