Cooling for Space Applications
2014 R&D 100 Winner
Traditionally, solid metallic conductors (heat sinks) and heat pipes have been used to cool electronic components. Other conventional alternatives include forced-air heat sinks and liquid cooling systems. In many of these conventional systems, electronic devices are mounted on copper-alloy substrates using soft or hard die attachments. However, these conventional systems have disadvantages that limit their applicability and reliability.
NASA Glenn Research Center and Thermacore Inc. have developed a solution to these limitations with their innovative Therma-Base. Therma-Base is a heat pump design that offers several advantages in addition to its basic passive heat transfer capability: simple and reliable operation; highly effective thermal conductivity; no moving parts; and quiet, vibration-free operation. The device improves thermal performance by up to 15 times compared to a solid copper-based heat spreader. Its two-phase cooling approach provides reliable thermal conductivity. A unique planar structure makes it thin, lightweight and compact, making it ideal for cooling proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells for use in many space-based military and commercial applications that require highly reliable heat dissipation in a small and compact form factor.
Heat transfer device
The Therma-Base Development Team
Kenneth A. Burke, Principal Developers, NASA Glenn Research Center
Sergey Semenov, Principal Developer, Thermacore Inc.