In two-sided structural cold plates, typically there is a structural member, such as a honeycomb panel, that provides the structural strength for the cold plates that cool equipment. The cold plates are located on either side of the structural member and thus need to have the cooling fluid supplied to them. One method of accomplishing this is to route the inlet and outlet tubing to both sides of the structural member. Another method might be to supply the inlet to one side and the outlet to the other. With the latter method, an external feature such as a hose, tube, or manifold must be incorporated to pass the fluid from one side of the structural member to the other. Although this is a more compact design than the first option, since it eliminates the need for a dedicated supply and return line to each side of the structural member, it still poses problems, as these external features can be easily damaged and are now new areas for potential fluid leakage.

This invention eliminates the need for an external feature and instead incorporates the feature internally to the structural member. This is accomplished by utilizing a threaded insert that not only connects the cold plate to the structural member, but also allows the cooling fluid to flow through it into the structural member, and then to the cold plate on the opposite side. The insert also employs a cap that acts as a cover to seal the open area needed to install the insert. There are multiple options for location of o-ring style seals, as well as the option to use adhesive for redundant sealing. Another option is to weld the cap to the cold plate after its installation, thus making it an integral part of the structural member. This new configuration allows the fluid to pass from one cold plate to the other without any exposed external features.

This work was done by Mark Zaffetti of Hamilton Sundstrand for Johnson Space Center. For further information, contact the JSC Innovation Partnerships Office at (281) 483-3809.

Title to this invention has been waived under the provisions of the National Aeronautics and Space Act {42 U.S.C. 2457(f)} to Hamilton Sundstrand. Inquiries concerning licenses for its commercial development should be addressed to:

Hamilton Sundstrand
Space Systems International,Inc.
One Hamilton Road
Windsor Locks, CT 06096-1010
Phone No.: (860) 654-6000