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John O | October 2017

Article discusses the higher standard required of aerospace thermal design


A recent article from Electronics Weekly, written by Tom Gregory, a product specialist at 6SigmaET, explored the necessarily high standards required of thermal design in aerospace electronics, standards higher than in most industries.

 


CFD tools can help engineers design for the strict requirements of the aerospace industry.
(Wikimedia Commons)

 

The environment that aerospace electronics reside in plays a huge role in the need for higher reliability, noted Gregory. The harsh conditions, higher life expectancy, and the lower acceptable failure rate combine to make the industry a difficult one for thermal management experts.

 

Gregory wrote, “In fact, the need for ‘bullet-proof’ reliability is absolutely critical and cannot be overstated. With aerospace products, in defense applications particularly, there are no simple return merchandise authorization processes. You cannot ‘reboot your system to clear issues’ in the middle of a mission on a missile guidance system.”

 

In order to optimize thermal solutions for high-density, high-powered aerospace applications, Gregory highlighted a case study in which 6SigmaET worked with Ten Tech, a provider of design and analysis support for embedded high-reliability defense and aerospace electronics systems, to design a liquid-cooled airborne radar processing chassis.

 

“This was a high-powered, high-ambient temperature design needing a high level of reliability,” said Gregory. “It had no cooling mechanism other than the liquid cooling loop. Thermal design was the main driver of the system. A little under 3kW had to be dissipated out to the (already hot) environment to enable the electronics to function reliably.”

 

Using 6SigmaET thermal simulation tools, the designers were able to rework the initial plan for one of its cold plates to provide greater thermal performance and account for pressure drop requirements.

 

“The designers created a multi-fluid model of the cold plate involving free convection and liquid cooling and optimized the cooling channels to obtain a good compromise between heat dissipation and pressure drop through the cold plate,” Gregory wrote.

 

Read the full article at https://www.electronicsweekly.com/news/design/test-and-measurement-2/aerospace-electronics-reach-the-height-of-cool-2017-10.

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