Five improvements are reported in cold-plate fabrication. This cold plate is part of a thermal control system designed to serve on space missions.

The first improvement is the merging of the end sheets of the cold plate with the face sheets of the structural honeycomb panel. The cold plate, which can be a brazed assembly, uses the honeycomb face sheet as its end sheet. Thus, when the honeycomb panel is fabricated, the face sheet that is used is already part of the cold plate. In addition to reducing weight, costs, and steps, the main benefit of this invention is that it creates a more structurally sound assembly.

The second improvement involves incorporation of the header into the closure bar to pass the fluid to a lower layer. Conventional designs have used a separate header, which increases the geometry of the system. The improvement reduces the geometry, thus allowing the cold plate to fit into smaller area.

The third improvement eliminates the need of hose, tube, or manifold to supply the cooling fluid externally. The external arrangement can be easily damaged and is vulnerable to leakage. The new arrangement incorporates an internal fluid transfer tube. This allows the fluid to pass from one cold plate to the other without any exposed external features.

The fourth improvement eliminates separate fabrication of cold plate(s) and structural members followed by a process of attaching them to each other. Here, the structural member is made of material that can be brazed just as that of the cold plate. Now the structural member and the cold plate can be brazed at the same time, creating a monolithic unit, and thus a more structurally sound assembly.

Finally, the fifth improvement is the elimination of an additional welding step that can damage the braze joints. A tube section, which is usually welded on after the braze process, is replaced with a more structurally sound configuration that can be brazed at the same time as the rest of the cold plate.

This work was done by Mark A. Zaffetti, Edmund P. Taddey, Michael B. Laurin, and Natalia Chabebe 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, CN 06096-1010
Phone No.: (860) 654-6000


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the January, 2012 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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