Rack-mountable composite-material structural components that would serve as both shelves and cold plates for removing heat from electronic or other equipment mounted on the shelves have been proposed as lightweight alternatives to allmetal cold plate/shelves now in use. A proposed cold plate/shelf would include a highly thermally conductive face sheet containing oriented graphite fibers bonded to an aluminum honeycomb core, plus an extruded stainless-steel substructure containing optimized flow passages for a cooling fluid, and an inlet and outlet that could be connected to standard manifold sections. To maximize heat-transfer efficiency, the extruded stainless-steel substructure would be connected directly to the face sheet. On the basis of a tentative design, the proposed composite cold plate/shelf would weigh about 38 percent less than does an all-aluminum cold plate in use or planned for use in some spacecraft and possibly aircraft. Although weight is a primary consideration, the tentative design offers the additional benefit of reduction of thickness to half that of the all-aluminum version.

This work was done by Kathryn M. Hurlbert of Johnson Space Center and Warren Ruemmele, Hai D. Nguyen, Kambiz K. Andish, and Sean McCalley of Lockheed Martin.

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

Lockheed Martin Space Operations

2400 NASA Road 1

Nassau Bay, TX 77058

Refer to MSC-23160, volume and number of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the page number.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the July, 2004 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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