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Title: Mars Science Laboratory Rover integrated pump assembly bellows jamming failure
Authors: Johnson, Michael R.
Johnson, Joel
Birur, Gajanana
Bhandari, Pradeep
Karlmann, Paul
Keywords: Rover Integrated Pump Assembly (RIPA)
Issue Date: 17-May-2012
Publisher: Pasadena, CA : Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2012.
Citation: Proceedings of the 41st Aerospace Mechanisms Symposium, Aerospace Mechanisms Symposium, May 17, 2012.
Abstract: The Mars Science Laboratory rover and spacecraft utilize two mechanically pumped fluid loops for heat transfer to and from the internal electronics assemblies and the Radioisotope Thermo-Electric Generator (RTG). The heat transfer fluid is Freon R-11 (CFC-11) which has a large coefficient of thermal expansion. The Freon within the heat transfer system must have a volume for safe expansion of the fluid as the system temperature rises. The device used for this function is a gas-over-liquid accumulator. The accumulator uses a metal bellows to separate the fluid and gas sections. During expansion and contraction of the fluid in the system, the bellows extends and retracts to provide the needed volume change. During final testing of a spare unit, the bellows would not extend the full distance required to provide the needed expansion volume. Increasing the fluid pressure did not loosen the jammed bellows either. No amount of stroking the bellows back and forth would get it to pass the jamming point. This type of failure, if it occurred during flight, would result in significant overpressure of the heat transfer system leading to a burst failure at some point in the system piping. A loss of the Freon fluid would soon result in a loss of the mission. The determination of the source of the jamming of the bellows was quite elusive, leading to an extensive series of tests and analyses. The testing and analyses did indicate the root cause of the failure, qualitatively. The results did not provide a set of dimensional limits for the existing hardware design that would guarantee proper operation of the accumulator. In the end, a new design was developed that relied on good engineering judgment combined with the test results to select a reliable enough solution that still met other physical constraints of the hardware, the schedule, and the rover system.
Appears in Collections:JPL TRS 1992+

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