Flexible and Enhanced Active Thermal Strap (FEATS) for Satellite Thermal Management
ABSTRACT: Electronic devices have permeated almost every aspect of modern society. Because of our ever-increasing dependence on the services they provide, we expect future electronic products to have improved reliability and increased performance. Microelectronic devices, an essential component of modern electronic systems, are subject to heat generation as a direct result of electric to thermal conversion. This inevitable by-product of their use results in elevated temperatures which are amplified by non-uniform distribution of power. Power non-uniformity leads to regions with heat fluxes several times higher than the overall average. Hot spots result in localized high-temperature regions which significantly impact microprocessor performance, maximum allowable power of a chip/package, and reliability of the chip and ultimately the assembly and device. For spacecraft thermal engineers and integrators who contend with concentrated high heat fluxes on electronics, the LoadPath Flexible and Enhanced Active Thermal Strap (FEATS) is an advanced thermally conductive path that provides a reliable means of mitigating hot spots while reducing integration overhead. Unlike traditional thermal straps that utilize a purely passive conductive path or two-phase systems that have inherent reliability concerns, our approach utilizes solid-state active thermoelectric devices (TEDs) which will provide required performance and high reliability. BENEFIT: As satellite functionality increases, site-specific cooling will play a crucial role in future payload thermal management. While terrestrial systems can sometimes use fluid based cooling systems, reliability concerns drive future cooling designs towards solid state approaches such as the proposed active thermal strap. The immediate targeted application of the proposed innovation is site-specific cooling of geosynchronous earth orbit military satellites. In addition to electronics hot spot cooling, other spacecraft applications include coupling radiator panels in a deployable radiator. Beyond satellite uses the proposed active strap is germane to any cooling application where device size, weight, and reliability are important concerns.
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