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High Performance Separable Thermal Mechanical Interface for Electronics


OBJECTIVE: Develop a flight-qualifiable, high performance Separable Thermal Mechanical Interface (STMI) intended for applications requiring high heat flux out of the edges of planar structure. DESCRIPTION: Digital signal processing remains at the forefront in determining future needs for higher capability spacecraft payloads. Currently, the available level of electrical performance far exceeds the capabilities of the available thermal control techniques. It is the inability of the housing mechanical design to efficiently remove dissipated heat from the active electronics which limits electrical performance. This results in mechanical design aspects becoming the limiting factors defining the maximum level of electronic performance which can be attained. As advances in thermal technology are developed and qualified, the technique for managing waste heat has been identified as a key improvement opportunity. As power levels increase and electronic packaging becomes denser, the thermal interfaces associated with the electronics can only become more critical. The objective of this topic is to develop a Separable Thermal Mechanical Interface (STMI) that will create a structural thermal interface between the high power density slice-based electronic assemblies and orthogonally oriented heat sinks, which are commonly found in advanced digital processing electronics. The STMI must perform reliably while meeting the stringent thermal performance requirements specified in this document. The technology development of a high performance STMI supports many space platforms by offering new thermal technology to unit design or plug and play small satellites that require the use of slice retainers. The top level thermal requirement for the STMI is to achieve a specific thermal resistance (in thermal vacuum, 1E-5 Torr max.) less than 0.10 deg C-in/W when averaged over its length. Local variations in specific thermal resistance are to be no more than +/- 25 percent of the average. In addition, the STMI is to be robust and show consistent performance over typical qualification level vibration and thermal cycle exposures, and over multiple insertion and removal cycles. Proposed solutions must have high-reliability and maintenance-free operation for lifetimes exceeding ten years. Finally, the STMI must be compatible with the space environment and conform to space qualification requirements including high vacuum, microgravity, radiation, atomic oxygen, and low outgassing. Proposers are encouraged to team with system integrators and payload providers to ensure applicability of their efforts and to provide a clear technology transition path. PHASE I: Show through analysis and/or hardware demonstration that a STMI thermal interface on the order of 0.35 C-in/W is attainable. Develop initial concepts and designs for an STMI based on these findings and describe a strategy for making a product available for developers. PHASE II: Finalize detailed design, manufacture prototype hardware and validate through test the Phase I solutions. PHASE III: Military/commercial applications: This technology is useful for all spacecraft that utilize a slice-based electronics architecture, which includes both military and commercial satellites. REFERENCES: 1. Voss, Coombs, Fritz, Dailey."A novel spacecraft standard for a modular nanosatellite bus in an operationally responsive space environment."AIAA 7th Responsive Space Conference, AIAA-RS7-2009-4004, 27-30 April 2009. 2. Lambert, M.A., and Fletcher, L.S., A Review of Thermal Enhancement Coatings for Navy Standard Electronic Module Card Rails. Texas A & M University, 1991. 3. Yeh, Lian-Tuu, and Chu, Richard C. Thermal Management of Microelectronic Equiment: Heat Transfer Theory, Analysis Methods, and Design Practices, ASME Press, NY, 2002. 4. Gilmore, David G., Spacecraft Thermal Control Handbook Volume I: Fundamental Technologies, 2nd Ed, The Aerospace Press, El Segundo, CA, 2002.
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