Low CTE Heat Pipe – Mounting of Aluminium Heat Pipes on CFRP face sheets



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46th International Conference on Environmental Systems


Today, telecommunication satellite structure is made of aluminium. Consequently the equipment panels are honeycomb sandwich panels with an aluminium core and aluminium face sheets. High dissipative equipments are usually mounted on these panels. Surface mounted or embedded heat pipes are utilized in order to provide the adequate thermal conductivity between equipment and the radiators. The use of panels with CFRP face sheets is usually restricted to load carrying structures or structures supporting low dissipative equipment. The wider use of CFRP structures would be attractive for telecommunication satellites in order to save mass and for science missions to gain stability. However, there is no technology available for state-of-the-art heat pipes to be embedded or surface mounted on CFRP panels. Within this study the main concern - the thermo-elastic compatibility of commonly used aluminium heat pipes with carbon fibre structures is addressed and solved. The first study phase was dedicated to the design, development and test. After the establishment of a specification and a requirement review an extensive technological state-of-the-art review lead to the final design – the “tunel concept”. That is a CFRP tunnel containing the HP which is pressed onto the face sheet with the help of a spring. Mechanical and thermal tests have been performed. Therefore a breadboard panel with a high-conductive fibre (K13C6U) with two surface mounted and two embedded heat pipes has been built and tested. The second study phase will be kicked-off in early 2016,with the goal of optimizing the contact conductance quality between the heat pipes and the face sheet. At the end a concept for accommodating aluminium heat pipes in CFRP structures will be available, qualified to a TRL of 6.


Airbus DS GmbH
ICES101: Spacecraft and Instrument Thermal Systems
Vienna, Austria
Monika Kärcher, Airbus DS GmbH, Germany
Rolf Kluge, Airbus DS GmbH, Germany
Josef Hauser, Airbus DS GmbH, Germany
The 46th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Vienna, Austria, USA on 10 July 2016 through 14 July 2016.


Aluminium heat pipe, CFRP face sheet, contact conductance