Computational design of microvascular radiative cooling panels for nanosatellites

Marcus Hwai Yik Tan, Devin Bunce, Alexander R.M. Ghosh, Philippe H. Geubelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This novel application of microvascular panels as nanosatellite radiator panels involves the key challenge of satisfying design constraints involving the coolant temperatures and pressure drop across the microchannel network. To address this challenge, the radiator panels are represented by dimensionally reduced hydraulic and nonlinear thermal models. The interface-enriched generalized finite element method and the Newton-Raphson scheme are then combined to solve the resulting nonlinear equations. Next, an interface-enriched generalized finite element methodbased sensitivity analysis of the nonlinear equations is developed and combined with an existing sequential quadratic programming algorithm to solve an optimization problem specifically formulated to optimize the thermal performance of the radiator. The resulting thermal performance of the optimized designs is not only superior to that of the reference designs but is also in excellent agreement with an analytical model derived based on the assumption of near-monotonic variation in the coolant temperature along the microchannel network. A feasibility study on a reference design and an optimized design shows that only the latter can satisfy all design constraints with appropriately chosen flow rates. Solutions of the thermal and hydraulic models are also verified with ANSYS FLUENT simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-616
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of thermophysics and heat transfer
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Computational design of microvascular radiative cooling panels for nanosatellites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this