VITA standards group adopts air-flow-through approach to electronics thermal management from Northrop Grumman


BALTIMORE—Embedded computing designers at the Northrop Grumman Corp. Advanced Concepts and Technologies division in Baltimore have invented a design to improve the air cooling of electronic modules that incorporate an air-flow-through, compact core-style heat exchanger design, which opens the door to more powerful, rugged aerospace and defense electronic systems, Northrop Grumman officials say.

Northrop Grumman’s invention enables air-flow-through cooling without the air coming into direct contact with the electronics, eliminating the risk of exposure to contaminants in the air. To do this, Northrop Grumman engineers use sliding air seals at the inlet and outlet of air-flow-through cards, which enables users to remove and replace electronics in the field.

Northrop Grumman not only has patented the new air-flow-through electronics thermal management approach, but also has seen the technology incorporated into VITA 48.5, the mechanical standard governing electronic plug-in units that use air-flow-through cooling. VITA 48.5 is administered by VITA, the open systems and open markets embedded computing trade association in Fountain Hills, Ariz. Northrop Grumman also is looking to license the new air-flow-through cooling technology to other companies.

The technology has received U.S. Patent Number 7,995,346 for the “ruggedized, self-aligning, sliding air seal for removable electronic units.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION visit Northrop Grumman Advanced Concepts and Technologies online at, or VITA at

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