This is a senior design team webpage comprised of five mechanical engineering seniors. Together, we designed a thermodynamic cycle that converts thermal energy from a radioisotope fuel source into electrical energy to power control systems.

Update: Final Project-Completed 12/09/2011!!



The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and the Center for Nuclear Space Research (CNSR) have asked us to research possible thermodynamic cycles that could be used to power the control systems on a "Mars Hopper." This hopper will be used to collect data samples on Mars and needs to be able to last approximately 10-15 years. You can read more on their project here.

Overview of Project

Our senior design team is focused on creating a thermodynamic cycle that could be used for this purpose. We have chosen to analyze the open and closed Brayton cycle to accomplish this task. A Brayton cycle consists of two thermal resevoirs (one hot and one cold), a compressor and a turbine.

This project has been funded by the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and Center for Nuclear Space Research (CNSR). Our client sponsor, Dr. Steven Howe, is the director of the CNSR and our faculty sponsor, Dr. John Crepeau, is the Dean of Mechanical Engineering here at the University of Idaho.



Dr. Steven Howe - Director of CNSR
Dr. John Crepeau - Chair of Mechanical Engineering & Faculty Sponsor
Dr. Jay McCormack - Senior Design Team Instructor
Red Rover (Nathan Bartel, Lee Fuller, Justin Mendonca, Trever Pope, Erik Sterbentz)