Feasibility study and system architecture of radioisotope thermoelectric generation power systems for usmc forward operating bases
Langham, Ryan C.
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This study sought to identify the feasibility of utilizing a radioisotope thermal (thermoelectric/stirling) generator to provide power to a deployed USMC Expeditionary Force. The conceptual system architecture was constructed through use of the systems engineering process, identifying necessary subsystems and integration boundaries. Radioisotope comparison was then performed, utilizing weighted design factors. It was determined that Sr-90, Cs-137, and Cm-244 would be the most effective fuel sources for this mission area. By analyzing current thermoelectric technology, it was determined that maximum system efficiency is limited to 1015 percent when utilizing available lead telluride thermoelectrics. Barriers to development of identified physical subsystem components were then identified, including health and environmental hazards of potential isotopes, as well as shielding criteria. The system development was found to be feasible and additional design work and development work is proposed.
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