Military electronics cooling and thermal management issues press for new materials development, potential move away from COTS

Electronics experts developing technology for aerospace and defense applications confront few issues as daunting as the heat generated from their designs. Engineers are under constant pressure to develop ever-smaller and more powerful electronics, yet the cost of doing so creates ever-larger amounts of heat, and ever-larger electronics thermal management problems.

Among their core challenges, then, is how to remove all this heat, while preserving system power and performance, as well as reducing size and weight for military and aerospace applications like unmanned vehicles, night-vision equipment, and body-worn computers, sensors, and signal processing.

Electronics heat removal and thermal management is pressing for the development of new materials to wick heat away from components on boards and in chassis, and also is providing incentive for systems designers to rethink their commitment to commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology.

"In the military we still believe these systems have to be out there for 50 years, but how can you design these systems for upgrading over that time," says Gerald Janicki, senior director for programs and business development at Meggitt Defense systems Inc. in Irvine, Calif. "The easiest way is to pull away from COTS," Janicki says.

Instead, Janicki suggests that one approach to removing heat efficiently from military and aerospace electronics systems is to design them from the beginning with heat removal in mind, rather than what has been the engineer's traditional approach over the last two decades of designing with COTS technology and cooling as best he can.

Pressing needs for new ways to cool electronics also are encouraging systems designers to try different kinds of materials to conduct heat away from critical components. Materials approaches for conducting heat off of chips and boards often are closely held company secrets. "The higher the thermal conductivity, the better. This is a competitive advantage," explains Ivan Straznicky, principal engineer and technical fellow at Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing in Leesburg, Va.

Straznicky says there is at least one unintended benefit of ever-growing needs for system performance and power to the thermal-management engineer. Demands for more power are leading computer experts to use new generations of multicore microprocessors, and these devices tend to be physically larger than their single-core predecessors.

Larger devices are easier to cool, he says. "The latest and greatest Intel processors, like the Core i7, are around 45 Watts, which is a big jump from previous processors. The silver ling is because they are adding more cores, the die size is getting bigger. It's not just the amount of power you have to cool, but the amount of power per square inch -- or the power density," Straznicky explains.

For these devices and other heat-producing components, embedded computer designers using conduction cooling not only are looking into new heat-conduction materials that are able to able to withstand shock, vibration, and other extreme conditions of aerospace and defense applications, but they also are investigating more exotic approaches, such as heat pipes and vapor chambers, Straznicky says.

Designers using convection cooling are considering new developments in large heat sinks, stepped-up air flow with fans or blowers that act like turbines inside electronics enclosures that enable systems designers to increase air flow over hot components.

Where the latest conduction- or convection-cooling techniques fall short, however, designers are looking into the kinds of liquid-cooling approaches that call for the kinds of point designs that eliminate COTS parts. These approaches are expensive, and designers use them only where other techniques cannot do the job, Janicki says.

"The better the industry gets at packaging, the better they are at thermal management, "Janicki says. "We have a lot of challenges ahead of us."

One application that may drive the newest electronics cooling techniques is the U.S. Army's Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV), which essentially will be a much larger version of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle," Janicki explains. "GCV has a lot more electronics, more communications, and more defensive systems on it," he says. " These things will all require cooling; some things will be air cooled, but some things will need to be liquid cooled or cold-plate cooled."

Electronics thermal management company information

Advanced Cooling Technologies Inc.; Lancaster, Pa.; 717-295-6061; www.1-act.com

AMETEK Specialty Metal Products; Wallingford, Conn.; 203-265-6731; www.ametekmetals.com

Amulaire Thermal Technology; San Diego, Calif.; 858-309-4718; www.amulaire.com

Applied Thermal Technologies LLC; Santa Clara, Calif.; 408-522-8730 Ext. 207; www.thermalcooling.com

The Bergquist Company; Chanhassen, Minn.; 800-347-4572; www.bergquistcompany.com

Brush Ceramic Products; Tucson, Ariz.; 520-746-0251; www.brushceramics.com

Celsia Technologies; Miami, Fla.; 305-529-6290; www.celsiatechnologies.com

Cooliance; Warwick, R.I.; 866-732-8103; www.cooliance.com

CoolIT Systems Inc.; Calgary, Alberta; 866-621-2665; www.coolitsystems.com

Degree Controls Inc.; Milford, NH; 603-672-8900; www.degreec.com

Furukawa America Inc.; Plymouth, Mich.; 734-446-2200; www.furukawaamerica.com

GrafTech International; Parma, Ohio; 216-676-2000; www.graftech.com

Heat Technology Inc.; Sterling, Mass.; 978-422-7100; www.heattechnology.com

Heat Transfer Research & Development Ltd.; Mt. Prospect, Ill.; 847-577-5967; www.htrdltd.com

Honeywell Electronic Materials; Sunnyvale, Calif.; 408-962-2000; www51.honeywell.com/sm/em

Intermark USA Inc.; San Jose, Calif.; 408-971-2055; www.intermark-usa.com

M Cubed Technologies Inc.; Monroe, Conn.; 203-452-2333; www.mmmt.com

Material Innovations Inc.; Huntington Beach, Calif.; 714 373-3070; www.matinnovations.com

Meggitt Defense Systems Inc.; Irvine, Calif.; 949-465-7700; http://mdswebmaster.com/UK/MDS2008/cms/

Mezzo Technologies Inc.; Baton Rouge, La.; 866-241-8476; www.mezzotech.com

MH&W International Corp. Thermal Products Division; Mahwah, N.J.; 201-891-8800; www.mhw-thermal.com

Micro Cooling Concepts Inc.; Huntington Beach, Calif.; 714-847-9945; www.microcoolingconcepts.com

Mikros Technologies Inc.; Claremont, N.H.; 603-690-2020; www.mikrostechnologies.com

Noren Products Inc.; Menlo Park, Calif.; 650-322-9500; www.norenproducts.com

Novel Concepts Inc.; Las Vegas, Nev.; 702-363-8443; www.novelconceptsinc.com

Parker Hannifin; Mentor, Ohio; 440-954-8100; www.parker.com

PLANSEE Thermal Management Solutions; San Diego, Calif.; 858-271-1993; http://plansee-tms.com

S-Bond Technologies LLC; Lansdale, Pa.; 215-631-7114; www.s-bond.com

Silicon Thermal; Mountain View, Calif.; 650-940-6010; www.siliconthermal.com

Spectra-Mat Inc.; Watsonville, Calif.; 831-722-4116; www.spectramat.com

STEGO Inc.; Marietta, Ga.; 770-984-0858; www.stego.de/us

Sumitomo (SHI) Cryogenics; Allentown, Pa.; 610-791-6700; www.shicryogenics.com

TechSource Thermal Solutions Inc.; Woburn, Mass.; 781 939-9988; www.techsourcethermalsolutions.com

Thermacore Inc.; Lancaster, Pa.; 717-569-6551; www.thermacore.com

Thermshield LLC; Gilford, N.H.; 603-524-3714; www.thermshield.com

Tracewell Systems Inc.; Westerville, Ohio; 614-846-6175; www.tracewellsystems.com

TSI Group Inc.; North Hampton, N.H.; 603-964-9780; www.tsigroupinc.com

Subscribe

Follow me on Twitter

Join the PennWell Aerospace and Defense Media Group on Linkedin at http://bit.ly/9MXl9

Become a fan of Military & Aerospace Electronics on Facebook at http://bit.ly/1VGM0Q

Post your aerospace and defense-related material to the #milaero community on Twitter. Use the #milaero hashtag.

Join your industry colleagues in the Command Post community online at http://community.milaero.com


Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:


  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

XPedite7574 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U VPX-REDI Module

The XPedite7574 is a high-performance, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the 5th genera...

XCalibur1645 | Freescale Eight-Core P4080 Processor-Based Conduction-Cooled 6U VPX Module

The XCalibur1645 is a high-performance, 6U VPX, single board computer supporting Freescale QorIQ ...

XCalibur5090 | Dual Virtex-7 Based Digital Signal Processing 6U LRM FPGA with Quad 2500 MSPS DAC and 3200 MSPS ADC

The XCalibur5090 is a high-performance, reconfigurable, conduction-cooled 6U LRM module based on ...

ScanFaker DRSii - Networked Radar Simulator

High resolution radar stimulator supporting analog and LAN output. Resolution down to 1m is possi...

S & C Dual-Band Omni Antennas

SWA Dual-Band Omni Antennas are designed to cover the S & C bands, and are available with multipl...

Body Worn Antennas

Body Worn Antennas from SWA are ideal for covert surveillance applications where the radio and an...

4G LTE Cellular Omni Concealment Antenna

The 4G LTE Cellular Omni Concealment Antenna from Southwest Antennas measures only 4.70" x 1.70" ...

Ultra-Flex Omni Antennas

The Southwest Antennas Ultra-Flex is a line of S-Band & C-Band omni antennas with a unique enviro...

PowerDNA-MIL

Four-Slot, Military Style I/O Chassis with Military/Rugged 38999 connectivity, 100% COTS solution...

FLATRACK™ Ethernet I/O DAQ Platform

FLATRACK™ Ethernet I/O DAQ Platform accommodates installation of up to four I/O boards, completes...

Related Companies

TEN TECH LLC

Is a mechanical engineering consulting company headquartered in Los Angeles, CA with operations in Billerica, MA, pro...

Dspnor AS

Offers radar signal processing and distribution. The products interface to virtually any radar system in use today. T...

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a long established techno...

PALMARII Dynamics AB

PALMARII Dynamics is a Swedish company incorporated in 2012 as a competence centre for specialist naval architecture ...

PELORUS NAVAL SYSTEMS Inc

Pelorus Naval Systems is a specialist naval defense engineering and support services company with headquarters in Ran...

Southwest Antennas

Southwest Antennas designs and manufactures high-performance RF & Microwave antennas and accessories designed for tod...

CORWIL Technology Corp

CORWIL Technology, the premier US based, IC assembly and test services subcontractor, offering full back-end assembly...

IndustryARC

IndustryARC primarily focuses on Cutting Edge Technologies and Newer Applications of the Market. Our Custom Research ...

United Electronic Industries Inc

UEI is a leader in the PC/Ethernet data acquisition and control, Data Logger/Recorder and Programmable Automation Con...

RPMC Lasers Inc

Offers 1500 DPSS lasers, lamp lasers, fiber lasers and diode lasers. Provides, ultrafast, picosecond, nanosecond, cw ...

Webcasts

Harsh Environment Protection for Advanced Electronics and Components

This webinar will offer an opportunity to learn more about ultra-thin Parylene conformal coatings – how they are applied, applications they protect today, and the properties and benefits they offer, includin...

New Design Tools That Help You Develop Radar That Sees the Un-seeable and Detects the Undetectable

Xilinx EW/ISR System Architect, Luke Miller, has new tricks and he’s going to tell you all about them in a new Xilinx Webinar—for free. His Webinar will cover new ways to implement Radar functions including ...
Sponsored by:

Press Releases

CURTISS-WRIGHT AWARDED CONTRACT BY SIERRA NEVADA CORPORATION

Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has received a contract from Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to supply its small form factor ...

Innovative Integration Announces the FMC-Servo

Camarillo, CA June 19, 2015, Innovative Integration, a trusted supplier of signal processing and data acquisition hardware and software solutions, today announced the FMC-S...

METADATA SUPPORT ENHANCES INDUSTRY-LEADING HD VIDEO MANAGEMENT SYSTEM FROM CURTISS-WRIGHT

Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has further enhanced its innovative VRD1 high definition (HD) video management system (VMS) w...

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

August 2015
Volume 26, Issue 8
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE