Griffin Smith

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

George Nelson

Committee Member

Jason Cassibry

Committee Member

Bryan Mesmer


Nuclear power plants, Lunar bases, Exergy


An exergy-based analysis of a power generation system based on nuclear fission coupled to a Stirling converter is conducted to assess overall system performance. To determine the exergy characteristics of this system, exergy balances are derived for each subsystem and calculated in MATLAB codes. Exergy destruction and exergy efficiency are quantified over the lunar diurnal cycle for each of NASA’s Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling Technology (KRUSTY) subsystem and the system as a whole. The presented results show that the KRUSTY integrated system efficiency is dependent on specific load profiles, and that constant load profiles result in the highest system exergy efficiency. Results also indicate higher exergy efficiency at colder ambient temperatures, allowing transient power draw cases to be created which maximize exergy efficiency by biasing towards nighttime operation.



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