Qualification for Space Flight of Two-Phase Copper-Water Heat Pipes with Sintered Wick Structure and k-Core Encapsulated Graphite Technology for Thermal Management of Next Generation Space Electronics



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2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems


In the frame of the project AO-7623 ‘Advanced cooling technologies compatible with novel flip chip and high pin count technologies’, copper-water mini-heat pipe and k-core encapsulated graphite thermal management technology has been developed for direct thermal management of high performance ASIC (Flip-Chip and Microprocessors) and have successfully achieved qualification for space flight status. The technology enables high performance, direct cooling at component level and enhanced chassis level thermal spreading from the chassis interface to the space radiator. The technology is aimed at enabling a step-change in heat dissipation of future telecom satellite payloads. A qualification test vehicle comprising of three representative breadboard chassis, incorporating the mini-heat pipe thermal management systems (TMS), k-Core multi-component TMS’s and k-Core chassis base TMS, was constructed. The three stacked-slice chassis, each incorporated PCB’s with heat sources representing the flip-chip microprocessor heat loads, two differently sized mini-heat pipe TMS’s, two multi-component k-Core TMS’s and a detachable chassis base k-Core encapsulated graphite TMS spreader. The flight demonstration test campaign included performance testing in a vacuum environment, thermal characterisation, Ageing & life test and thermo-mechanical testing. The mini-heat pipe and k-Core TMS technology offers a step-change in thermal performance versus the current conduction cooling techniques, by providing direct cooling of the component surface and a thermal link to the chassis heat output surface area. This paper presents an overview of the technology, the qualification test plan and the qualification test data.


Ryan McGlen, Aavid, Thermal Division of Boyd Corporation, GB
Fréderic Michard, Thales Alenia Space, FR
Clémence Conton, Thales Alenia Space, FR
Steve Cochrane, Aavid, Thermal Division of Boyd Corporation, GB
Ryan Waterston, Aavid, Thermal Division of Boyd Corporation, GB
ICES201: Two-Phase Thermal Control Technology
The proceedings for the 2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems were published from July 31, 2020. The technical papers were not presented in person due to the inability to hold the event as scheduled in Lisbon, Portugal because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.


Copper-water sintered heat pipe, k-Core, Annealed pyrolytic graphite, Two-phase, Thermal management system, Direct cooling