Purdue University
Demay31 3 Promo

Space Refrigerator Works in Zero Gravity

June 2, 2021
A refrigerator prototype developed by Purdue researchers and their partners was evaluated under microgravity conditions on the unique Zero Gravity Corp. aircraft.

Providing fresh food for astronauts in space for extended lengths of time has long been a challenge due to the failure of standard refrigeration methods to work under zero-gravity conditions. But researchers at Purdue University, working in collaboration with air compressor and vacuum specialists at Air Squared, Inc. and refrigeration experts at Whirlpool Corp. have prototyped a refrigerator which may provide the capabilities for effective long-term refrigeration in space under zero-gravity conditions (see the figure).

The space refrigerator project was funded by NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to provide essential nutrition for astronauts beyond the three-year shelf life of currently used canned and dried foods brought into space. Experiments on the prototype design were performed in the unique weightless research laboratory managed by Zero Gravity Corp. in a specially designed aircraft (see the figure, again). The experiments, supported by NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, showed that the prototype refrigerator can operate under microgravity conditions as well as it does under normal gravity conditions and that it is not likely to flood under the microgravity conditions that have previously damaged refrigerators used in space. Eckhard Groll, a professor and head of Purdue’s School of Mechanical Engineering, said: “We want to have a refrigeration cycle that is resistant to zero gravity and works to normal specifications. Our preliminary analysis clearly shows that our design allows gravity to have less impact on that cycle.”        

Sponsored Recommendations

Getting Started with Python for VNA Automation

April 19, 2024
The video goes through the steps for starting to use Python and SCPI commands to automate Copper Mountain Technologies VNAs. The process of downloading and installing Python IDC...

Can I Use the VNA Software Without an Instrument?

April 19, 2024
Our VNA software application offers a demo mode feature, which does not require a physical VNA to use. Demo mode is easy to access and allows you to simulate the use of various...

Introduction to Copper Mountain Technologies' Multiport VNA

April 19, 2024
Modern RF applications are constantly evolving and demand increasingly sophisticated test instrumentation, perfect for a multiport VNA.

Automating Vector Network Analyzer Measurements

April 19, 2024
Copper Mountain Technology VNAs can be automated by using either of two interfaces: a COM (also known as ActiveX) interface, or a TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) socket interface...