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Using Radio Antennae to Dump Stored Energy

  1. Apr 16, 2014 #1
    So, let's say a spacecraft at a large distance from any star needs to dump a tremendous amount of stored electrical energy overboard in a limited timeframe.

    Normally, spacecraft dump excess/waste energy using heat radiators. In this unusual case, however, the energy is electrical, and heat radiators require a tremendous amount of surface area that's already needed for other uses (that is, a tremendous amount of area would be needed to radiate this amount of energy, limited to roughly 2000*C, and in a reasonable timeframe, and most available surfaces on the craft are already taken with radiators for the powerplant and engines, due to waste heat).

    Since it is already stored as electricity, would a radio transmitter work as a more effective means to dump this energy than heat radiators?

    Electrical resistance goes down with temperature and eventually superconductivity is achieved, right? So could the antenna array be made superconducting to allow for an exceedingly low resistance?

    Is there some kind of formula I could use to plot the amount of power this transmitting antenna is putting out given several parameters (such as it's size, it's temperature, etc)? That would probably be most helpful.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2014 #2
    What do you mean by "stored as electricity"? You mean you have some large amount of unbalanced charge in some super-capacitor?
  4. Apr 16, 2014 #3
    Yes, that would do.
  5. Apr 16, 2014 #4
    You can just connect a resistor between the plates of the capacitor.
    The energy will be dissipated. You can put the resistor outside the spacecraft so the heat is radiated in space.

    But I am afraid that you may have some other scenario in mind. :)
  6. Apr 28, 2014 #5
    I would have to wonder what the benefits of just 'discarding' such energy would be but to answer the question I wouldn't imagine that radio waves would be particular effective per se. Radio waves encompass a large frequency range which is inclusive of microwaves as well. If we are discussing the utilization of microwaves then perhaps this could be effective but in all truthfulness I can say that a simple spark or electric arc onto some conducting object outside the craft would be immediate and super effective. I have seen the discussion on the possibility of electrical arcs in a vacuum space that was engaged by a NASA doctor and it seems as of this would be the ideal method.
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