Current Work

See what the team is currently working on.

The RTG:

Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) are devices that use decay heat produced by radioactive isotopes to create power. Thermoelctric Generator modules use semi-conductors to convert the thermal energy into electric energy. RTGs are used in to power deep space probes, satellites, lunar missions, and even Mars Rovers. Our goal is to improve the RTG design used for powering lunar missions. We changed the heat decay mode from radiative heat decay to conductive heat decay into the lunar soil. The first step of this design was to determine the best geometry for the RTG.

The Simulations:

To determine the best geometry for the RTG we used StarCCM+ to simulate the devices running. The two geometries test were hexagonal and octagonal. The images shown below detail the CAD used and the temperature distribution found after the simulations finished.

The hexagonal and octagonal RTGs modeled in SolidwWorks
Hexagonal body temperature distribution
Octagonal body temperature distribution

A summary was submitted and accepted to the American Nuclear Society student design competition based on this RTG design. However, the conference and competition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check back to this page often for updates of what we are working on.