Reactor's waste heat dissipation in space

  • Thread starter aquitaine
  • Start date
  • #1
18
9

Main Question or Discussion Point

So, hypothetically if we had a spaceship of some kind using a nuclear fission reactor for power, in order to dump the waste heat into space, how big of a radiator would be needed? How much heat, in watts, can be dumped per square meter of radiator in a vacuum?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
18,825
2,052
So, hypothetically if we had a spaceship of some kind using a nuclear fission reactor for power, in order to dump the waste heat into space, how big of a radiator would be needed? How much heat, in watts, can be dumped per square meter of radiator in a vacuum?
The size of the radiator depends on the temperature and emissivity of the material.

Eventually all of the heat is radiated to space, which when far enough from a star is at about 4 K. The trade off is between radiator effectiveness (temperature) and thermodynamic efficiency of whatever power conversion system one develops.

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/stefan.html
 

Related Threads on Reactor's waste heat dissipation in space

  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
5K
Replies
9
Views
6K
  • Last Post
Replies
17
Views
2K
Replies
43
Views
5K
Replies
4
Views
4K
Replies
2
Views
930
  • Last Post
Replies
12
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
4K
Replies
7
Views
3K
Replies
13
Views
1K
Top