Loop Heat Pipe for Avionics Thermal Control 961318
The current trend in military avionics design is to physically move electronics closer to the components they control. This saves on weight, increases component maintainability, reduces aircraft manufacturing costs, and reduces the amount of electromagnetic shielding required. A disadvantage to this trend is the difficulty in achieving thermal control of these remotely located electronics.
Accordingly, this thermal control issue is being addressed through the development of a loop heat pipe cold plate (LHPCP). The LHPCP is different than previous hardware of its kind by the fact that it operates in any orientation. The prototype LHPCP that was fabricated and tested was 30 inches long and weighed 1.2 pounds and was able to transport a minimum of 160 watts in any orientation.
Future LHPCPs will be made flexible to allow relative motion between the package to be cooled and the heat sink. It also will permit cooling to be provided to surfaces in awkward locations relative to the heat sink. Connections to the heat sink can be anything from convective air cooled fins to solid plates bolted on the aircraft's structure.