With the achievements made in the last decade with respect to reliability and cryogenic performance, the use of linear cryocoolers for new application areas has become viable. Thales Cryogenics has been challenged by its customers to deliver robust and compact solutions for a variety of applications.
One of these challenges is the use of coolers in extreme environmental conditions. In this paper, a linear Stirling cooler is presented that is designed for use in such extreme conditions, one of which is an ambient temperature of 150°C. The application for which this cooler is intended – the cooling of electronics and imaging sensors – requires 25 W of cooling power between 423 K and 223 K. Because of the need for a high-efficient solution within a limited geometrical envelope, a Stirling cooler was selected as the most suitable cooler type.
We will describe the impact of the high ambient temperatures on the fundamental thermodynamics of the Stirling cooler. Furthermore, we will present some of the practical challenges in the design of the cooler. Finally, we will present the results of the qualification and performance testing of the coolers that were built.
D. Willems, J. Mullié, F. v. Wordragen, G. de Jonge
Thales Cryogenics B.V., Eindhoven, The Netherlands