Multilayer Insulation (MLI) in the Superconducting Super Collider — A Practical Engineering Approach to Physical Parameters Governing MLI Thermal Performance
Multilayer insulation (MLI) is employed in cryogenic devices to control the heat load of those devices. The physics defining the thermal performance of an MLI system is extremely complex due to the thermal dynamics of numerous interdependent parameters which in themselves contribute differently depending on whether boundary conditions are transient or steady-state. The Multilayer Insulation system for the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) consists of full cryostat length assemblies of aluminized polyester film, fabricated in the form of blankets, and installed as blankets to the 4.5K cold mass, and the 20K and 80K thermal radiation shields. Approximately 40,000 blankets will be required in the 10,000 cryogenic devices comprising the SSC accelerator. Each blanket will be nearly 56 feet long by 6 feet wide and will consist of as many as 32 reflective and 31 spacer layers of material. Discussed are MLI material choices, and the physical parameters which contribute to the operational performance of MLI systems. Disclosed is a method for fabricating MLI blankets by employing a large diameter winding mandrel having a circumference sufficient for the required blanket length. The blanket fabrication method assures consistency in mass produced MLI blankets by providing positive control of the dimensional parameters which contribute to the MLI blanket thermal performance. The fabrication method can be used to mass produce prefabricated MLI blankets that by virtue of the product have inherent features of dimensional stability, three-dimensional uniformity, controlled layer density, layer-to-layer registration, interlayer cleanliness, and interlayer material to accommodate thermal contraction differences.
KeywordsHeat Leak Thermal Shield Multilayer Insulation Cold Mass Cryogenic Engineer
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