US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A technician demonstrates the flexibility of a heat pipe during operation at 800 Celsius. The heat pipe is being studied as a heat transfer device for nuclear power generation in future satellites. The pipe is made of an alloy of molybdenum filled with lithium. The lithium at the 'hot' end of the pipe evaporates and migrates rapidly to the 'cool' end. There it condenses, releasing its energy. This may then be harnessed by thermoelectric converters to generate electricity. The apparent thermal conductivity of the pipe is about 10,000 times that of silver, the best metallic thermal conductor.
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