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Compact Thermal Solutions through Advanced Manufacturing Techniques


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics, 

OBJECTIVE: Additive Manufacturing is a quickly growing field of technology that has been adopted across the military and even deployed on the ISS by NASA. The technology allows for the creation of complex components that cannot be achieved using traditional subtractive methods such as machining. The CCDC Aviation and Missile Center is interested in using Additive Manufacturing to create thermal management solutions to handle device heat fluxes of more than 1,500 watts per square centimeter, supporting high performance missile and radar electronic transceivers at a system-on-a-chip level enabling significant miniaturization beyond current state-of-the-art. Oscillating heat pipes rapidly remove localized heat by incorporating phase change material in capillary channels that oscillate between material states enabling large heat flux. Copper heat sinks structurally landscaped around printed circuit board components provide a path for the heat to be transferred. By utilizing advanced manufacturing techniques such as additive metal printing, complex geometries can be achieved that cannot be created through traditional subtractive manufacturing (machining). This topic is focused on 3” to 5” diameter thermal management solutions to support hypersonic missile, densely packaged Radio Frequency (RF) and electronic integration. Barriers to this development include, but are not limited to, the capability to print (additively manufacture) metal heat pipes with integrated wicking, bi-metal print capability, modeling and measuring heat generation and measuring effectiveness of the resulting thermal system prototype. 

DESCRIPTION: It is the intent of this topic for the offeror to demonstrate the capability to create landscaped thermal management copper structures employing oscillating heat pipe technology. Proposals must employ metal additive manufacturing to generate the prototypes. 

PHASE I: In Phase 1, the offeror shall research, develop and fabricate prototypes of wicking oscillating heat pipes that can handle device heat fluxes of more than 1,500 watts per square centimeter. A phase change material must be designed in the heat pipe. The heat pipe should be approximately 5-7 inches in length (knowing that effective thermal conductivity varies with heat pipe length), with a diameter less than 1/4”. The thermal structure should sustain heat transfer in variable gravity orientations. The final prototype of Phase 1 shall be printed using copper or similar thermally conductive material. The design shall be fully modeled and heat removal effectiveness simulated. Prototypes are required during Phase I and must be supplied to CCDC Aviation and Missile Center. 

PHASE II: In Phase II, the offeror shall use methods developed in Phase 1 to research, develop, fabricate, and evaluate integrated thermal heatsinks ranging from 3” to 5” in diameter and less than 1/2” thickness (including all landscaped structures) using oscillating heat pipes within board-landscaped, additive copper or similar thermally conductive structures enabling cooling of system-on-a-chip processor technology with high throughput to handle device heat fluxes of more than 1,500 watts per square centimeter. This technology is aimed at supporting thermal management for direct sampling that would eliminate much of an analog receive chain for significant miniaturization. The desired products of Phase II include: 1) a developmental board design, 2) thermal analysis and design of an integrated solution using additive structures, pockets of phase change material and oscillating heat pipes structured in a heatsink that would surround components of a Radio Frequency (RF) System-on-a-Chip (SoC) printed wiring board design, 3) prototypes of the landscaped thermal mitigation solution, 4) model/simulation results compared with measured effectiveness of the thermal system prototype. Heat generation levels should include that created through RF power amplification, general processing, and digital transceiver system components that would be highly integrated onto the heat sink-based thermal management solution resulting in a significant miniaturization of these type systems. Prototypes are required during Phase II and must be supplied to CCDC Aviation and Missile Center. In addition, the offeror shall expand the research and development to rugged prototypes of printed thermal management structures that can withstand environmental concerns including humidity, dust, shock, and vibration such as that of a missile launch and relevant lifetime. All results are to be fully documented, and before and after prototypes of evaluations are to be supplied to CCDC Aviation and Missile Center. 

PHASE III: For Phase 3 of this effort, the offeror shall expand upon the thermal management solutions of Phase II to develop a fully integrated RF System-on-a-Chip processing structure at high throughput. The purpose of this demonstration is to show the level of efficiency using actual RF transceiver system components at a frequency of interest in the millimeter wave band. The prototype will consist of RF power amplification, and components to conduct direct sampling at the RF frequency to eliminate much of the analog receive chain to achieve miniaturization. The prototype shall be highly integrated onto the thermal management heat sink-based solution. Prototypes are required during Phase III and must be supplied to CCDC Aviation and Missile Center. Phase 3 dual use applications: Particular military applications include generic radar sensor system applications for use on missile technologies that can be applied to hypersonic missile fight environments. Commercial applications include all high throughput processing system applications. Transitions of opportunity include both immediate and local capability generation of additively manufactured designs of thermal management solutions for highly integrated processing and RF system-on-a-chip sensors. The most likely path to transition for the thermal management technology is a commercial development or for a CCDC missile program such as Long Range Maneuverable Fires to adapt the technology during their development and test cycle. These programs run through 2029. 


1: Ian Gibson, David Rosen, Brent Stucker, (2014), Additive Manufacturing Technologies: Rapid Prototyping to Direct Digital Manufacturing, Springer, 2014.

KEYWORDS: Heat Pipes, Thermal Management, Advanced Manufacturing, Metal Printing 

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