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Variable Conductance Assembly for Thermal Management

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N68335-22-C-0479
Agency Tracking Number: N221-083-0118
Amount: $246,470.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N221-083
Solicitation Number: 22.1
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-07-11
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-10-02
Small Business Information
330 Billerica Road Ste 200
CHELMSFORD, MA 01824-0440
United States
DUNS: 796010411
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Chuck Hannon
 (978) 856-4146
Business Contact
 Collette E Jolliffe
Phone: (978) 856-4158
Research Institution

The Navy seeks a technology that dynamically adjusts the thermal conductivity (variable conductance) between a sensor and its environment to assist in maintaining a stable temperature with minimal power draw. Thermal management of critical electronics and sensors will involve a thermal path through solid materials before heat can be exchanged with the ambient environment. Solid materials are characterized by nearly constant thermal conductivity over temperature ranges on the order of 100°C and therefore have nearly constant thermal conductance over a given length scale. An ideal interface material will have variable conductance so that it conducts heat very well when the device must be cooled and conducts poorly when heat loss from the device should be minimized. Thermal switches exist that toggle between highly conductive states and “open” states where heat flow is essentially zero. Rapidly toggling between these two binary states can effectively mimic continuously variable conductance, but at the expense of nearly continuous power drawing actuation.     Triton systems proposes to develop a material who’s thermal conductivity can be continuously varied by changing its length by increasing or decreasing a compressive force. A factor of 8 variation has been demonstrated. The effect is fully reversible and repeatable over multiple cycles. The material is commercially available and is readily shaped by standard machining operations so that it can conform to unusual shapes. Triton has also identified an actuation technology to apply the compressive force that continues to apply a force even when the power is turned off. Combining these approaches will achieve the Navy’s objective to maintain stable sensor temperatures with minimal power draw. In Phase I Triton will complete a feasibility assessment that addresses the 10 performance items listed in the Topic description and develop a design specification and conceptual design to be built in Phase II. Proof-of-principle will be demonstrated in Phase II through a rigorous test program and manufacturability assessment.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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