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Innovative Silent Cooling Technology For Electronic Systems In Compact Spaces


OBJECTIVE: The objective is to develop innovative non-water, low noise cooling system for shipboard electronics in compact enclosures that will be cost effective and have high efficiencies. DESCRIPTION: Proper cooling of electronics aboard US Navy ships is critical to the operation of shipboard electronic systems. Quiet and reliable cooling technology is especially important for ship control systems. On the VIRGINIA Class submarine, most ship control equipment uses forced air cooling. Water cooling is not presently used because it creates a dependency on cooling water systems, lowering ship control system availability and reliability. However, the current ship control cooling fans in use on VIRGINIA Class have a large number of mechanical parts, requiring significant noise qualification and reliability testing. Furthermore, space and weight is very important aboard submarines and the additional space for cooling fans make arrangements challenging. It is expected that the OHIO Replacement will experience similar difficulties and incur similar costs unless a better system is developed. The Navy would like to reduce the footprint of the cooling system and eliminate the use of fan cooling (and subsequent noise qualification testing), while maintaining the reliability of the ship control station. Although there are currently non-mechanical cooling systems used in industry, such as heat pipes, these technologies cannot always be adapted for Navy Submarine use because of material concerns (see references 1 and 2). However, companies applying to this SBIR should be encouraged to leverage commercial-off-the-shelf cooling technologies wherever applicable. The Navy is seeking innovative technologies and methods to address the cooling problems it is having with ship control electronic equipment. Innovation should minimize the use of mechanical components such as fans, consider the use of heat pipes, and investigate innovative alternative materials for control equipment enclosures. All heat transfer methods must meet the required cooling loads (estimated to be 1kW) and be constructed of approved materials for use on US Navy Submarines. The investigation will address system hardware and associated maintenance and personnel issues (noise levels). All concepts should use materials approved for use on US Navy Submarines as defined in the"Submarine Atmosphere Control Manual"and the Submarine Material Control List (see reference 4). Reference 3 below is also provided for guidance. Energy efficiency of the cooling technology must also be included in the developmental effort. PHASE I: The small business will develop innovative concepts for cost effective and reliable cooling of ship control stations, demonstrate the feasibility of the concepts to cool ship control station within the requirements described above, and demonstrate the feasibility of developing concepts into technology that can reliably meet the cooling loads of the ship control station. A preliminary analysis of the system, which includes development of cooling system requirements, will be prepared. Prepare a development plan for Phase II with performance goals and key technical milestones. PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I and the Phase II development plan, the small business will develop and evaluate a prototype cooling system to determine its effectiveness in cooling ship control stations within the performance goals defined in Phase I and the requirements above. Based on the results of the evaluations, the small business will develop a preliminary design that can be implemented on the OHIO Replacement Class submarine. Develop a Phase III development plan to transition the technology into a system that can be acquired by the Navy. PHASE III: If Phase II is successful, the small business will be expected to support the Navy in transitioning the technology to Navy use should a Phase III award be made. Based on the Phase II results, the small business will develop an enclosure cooling system for the ship control station for shipboard testing. The small business will support evaluation aboard ship and in qualifying and certifying the system for use on the OHIO Replacement Class submarine and for back fit to the VIRGINIA Class submarine. PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: The technology developed under this topic could be used in electronic enclosures that are commonplace throughout industry, from large scale data centers containing thousands of servers in enclosures, to the use of industrial applications of electronics. The technology has the potential for use in heat transfer applications where water cooling or air ventilation systems are undesirable.
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