Patricia Weisensee, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, plans to develop a liquid-metal-based heat switch that automatically turns on or off based on the external temperature with a three-year, $600,000 early-career award from NASA.
The award is given annually to six to eight tenure-track assistant professors who demonstrate proof-of-concept of the proposed technology.
“The problem in space is depending on where you are or which direction you are facing, it’s either very cold in the environment or it’s very hot,” Weisensee said. “The electronics don’t like that, so NASA is looking for a mechanism to control the heat exchange between the internal parts of the satellite or space vehicle and the external environment.”
Read more on the McKelvey School of Engineering website.